Skip to main content

Joint Mitnor Cave T-LiDAR Scan data

Cite this dataset

McFarlane, Donald; van Rentergem, Guy; Lundberg, Joyce (2020). Joint Mitnor Cave T-LiDAR Scan data [Dataset]. Dryad.


Here we present the first detailed, modern survey of Joint Mitnor Cave, Buckfastleigh, Devon, UK. The cave is an extremely important Last Interglacial palaeontological site because it is the type site for the hippopotamus-dominated British Pleistocene mammal assemblage of that period, “The Joint Mitnor Cave Mammal Assemblage Zone”; and because it is the least damaged Last Interglacial cave bone bed still remaining in Britain.

The survey, meticulously drawn from terrestrial LIDAR scans, offers a precise (± <3mm 3D 1 δ) view of the cave, and can act as the base map for future conservation projects and other studies.


The cave was scanned with a Faro M70 scanner (Faro Technologies, Florida). 11 scans were taken on different locations in the cave. Scan resolution was set to 1/5 resulting in 8270 x 3415 data points/scan or a total of 28.3 Megapoints. Quality was set to 4x and pictures were taken to collect additional RGB values for each scan points. Individual scan times were 5 minutes 11 seconds.

The raw scans were assembled with cloud to cloud registration using SCENE (version 2019.2, Faro Technologies). The resulting project point cloud was exported from SCENE as a .pts file (ascii file containing X, Y, Z, reflection value, R, G, B) containing 151,099,474 points.

The file was then imported into CloudCompare and the point density was reduced by a factor of 7.5 resulting in a more manageable file size of 20 Megapoints, and exported as a .ply file. The final .ply file is 371 MB large.

No conversion to a mesh has been done.

Usage notes

This .ply file can be viewed in a range of software. For processing cave data, we can recommend CloudCompare (