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Karl Hjalte Maack Raun


Karl Hjalte Maack Raun


  • PhD student

Contact information

Digital Humanities/Digital Cultural heritage
Cluster of Excellence, Asia and Europe in a Global Context
Heidelberg University
Karl Jaspers Centre
Vossstr. 2, Building 4400, Room 005a
69115 Heidelberg, Germany

+49 (0) 15225861724

About Karl Hjalte Maack Raun


LiDAR based semi-automatic pattern recognition within an archaeological landscape.


The utilization of LiDAR provides several novel approaches for locating and monitoring cultural heritage, especially in areas of logistical complications, e.g. forest, rough terrain, and remote areas (cf. figure 1 & 2). In order to cope with the huge amount of generated 3D LiDAR point clouds, systematic and semi-automated procedures needs to be defined to control and handle these accumulated amounts of otherwise unrestrained information.

In doing so, the effort of this project will be focused on pattern recognition algorithms to define quantitative methods of handling and processing 3D LiDAR data and subsequent 2D raster by implementing standardized and state of the art systematic and semi-automated approaches for cultural heritage detection and management. Further, a research data gateway will be created within a WebGIS for extended parameterization of 2D and 3D LiDAR data with added mapped archaeological site distribution.


Introduction to the project

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging, and LiDAR datasets provides series of point based energy recordings reflecting ground height, canopy height and other canopy characteristics. LiDAR data provides 3-dimensional data possible for interpolation and modelling of landscape. If proper processed and manipulated, data can be filtered to reveal different manipulated landscapes, such as only points of terrain, which involves removing vegetation, construction, and all other features above bare-earth. This ability provides a new layer for understanding the landscape surrounding us, often revealing details that were long forgotten (see e.g. fig. 1).

In recent years, LiDAR scanning has become a widely used tool for understanding both the cultural and natural landscape surrounding us (Cowling 2011). The result of this is, that new 3-dimensional point based LiDAR data is consistently being generated in a more precise and detailed version of raw point cloud form. In order to cope with the increasing amount of point data, spatial data and geo-information, a systematic and semi-automated process needs to be defined in order to control and handle these accumulated amounts of otherwise unrestrained information.

 In doing so, the effort of this project will be focused on pattern recognition algorithms in order to define quantitative methods for handling and processing LiDAR data and Digital Elevation Models (DEM)  using systematic and semi-automated approaches.

The aim of this project will create a multipurpose tool for a wide array of scientific fields and application domains within archaeology and the earth sciences of geography, geophysics, and geology. However, the project will have particular emphasis on archaeological landscapes and monuments of cultural heritage.

The area of investigation is southern Germanyl, comprising some 7.000 km2 unhandled LiDAR point clouds from the state of Bavaria.


Research Value

The main research value of the project lies in the fact, that the result will be a large-scale procedure, both feasible and accurate, for a cost-effective approach for handling and maintaining known and potential sites of cultural heritage. Further, the project will reveal many new areas and sites of interest, and most likely some new sites with outstanding research value for understanding history and prehistory in the state of Bavaria, the country of Germany, and beyond. 

The outcome will be a generic framework for semi-automatic detection and classification of structures of cultural heritage. The end result will have a large and positive effect in the field of archaeology, archaeological prospection and cultural heritage management. However, the project, and final results, will likely also have an outstanding value for other scientific fields, parties and institutions of both private and public interest for feature detection and landscape analysis.

The project and its implications will also be a leading interdisciplinary research beyond many frontiers of scientific fields, interested parties and stakeholders. Furthermore, the framework and collaboration will have a positive research value for the incorporation of interdisciplinary scientific computation on the border between the humanities and natural science.

 Lastly, all work will be constructed as generic with potential for adapting modules, scripts, and algorithms to other geographic regions and areas of interest. The project is thus not locally confined, but rather globally minded in order for LiDAR data to become a method for maintaining and locating cultural heritage all around the world.

 All original scripts, algorithms, and results will be published and/or made publicly available as Open Source and Open Access.



LiDAR; Airborne Laser Scanning; Terrestrial Laser Scanning; GIS; Aerial Archaeology; Computational Archaeology; Algorithmic Archaeology; Remote Sensing


Curriculum vitae

2014/6 -                            LiDAR Research Group member

2014/3 -                            LSDMA member

Member of the Large Scale Data Management and Analysis group


2014/2 -                            JRG Digital humanities member

With focus on archaeological information systems and digital cultural heritage

2014/2 -                            Heidelberg University

PhD: LiDAR based semi-automatic pattern recognition within an archaeological landscape

2013/9 - 2014/1                             Moesgaard Museum

Daily excavation leader and IT-coordinator

2013/2 - 2013/8                              Skanderborg Museum


2012/10 - 2013/2                            Moesgaard Museum

Academic Researcher, The Burial Mounds of Bahrain

2012/05 - 2012/06                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: IT teacher

2012/02 - 2012/03                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: IT teacher

2011/06 - 2011/08                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: Harvard Field School at the Viking Age site Füsing

2011/04 - 2011/06                           Kulturarvsstyrelsen

Researcher regarding UNESCO heritage nomination

2011/05 - 2011/05                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: IT teacher

2011/03 - 2011/04                           Vendsyssels Historiske Museum


2011/01 - 2011/03                           Aarhus Universitet

Füsing, Data coordination and handling

2011/01 - 2011/03                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: IT teacher

2010/10 - 2011/03                           Moesgaard Museum

Archaeological Surveyor

2010/06 - 2010/10                           Aarhus Universitet

Field coordinator at the Viking site Füsing

2010/02 - 2010/04                           Aarhus Universitet

Instructor: IT teacher

2009/08 - 2009/12                           Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Amersfort

Dendrochronology, Assistant

2008/03 - 2012/08                           Aarhus Universitet

Archaeological IT, co-worker

2007/07 - 2007/09                           Holstebro Museum


2006/10 - 2008/03                           Moesgaard Museum

Archaeological recordings, Student worker



Selected publications

Dobat, A., A. Trans & K. Raun. 2011. Zwischen Haithabu, Danewerk und Schleswig. Archäologische Nachrichten aus Schleswig-Holstein 2011, red. B. Anspach, U. Ickerodt & A.O. Schinkel. Heft 17, 88-91. 

Laursen, S.T. & K. Raun. 2012. Undersøgelser af kongehøjene i Bahrain. Årets gang, Moesgaard Museum, red. J. Laursen & J. Skamby Madsen.Narayana Press, Gylling. 39-44. 

Løvschal, M., P. Mikkelsen, E. Østergaard, S. Olesen, M. Sejr & K. Raun. 2012. Gudme10. LAG, vol. 11.

Raun, K.  2010. Standardisering og kommodifikation i Senneolitikum og Ældre Bronzealder. LAG, vol. 10.