3D Digitisation: GB3D – an open resource for education, research and the public

by Mike Howe

5 min read

All species – fossil or living – are defined by “Type Specimens” in museum collections. Many of the fossil species in the UK were described in the nineteenth century, and the current location of their types may now be poorly known.

The GB3D Type Fossils Online project was funded by Jisc to address this. The British Geological Survey worked with 22 partner museums to take new high-resolution images of the type fossils in their collections – totalling over 17,500 - including many stereo pairs which were processed into anaglyphs. Two thousand of the best specimens were laser scanned to produce 3D-digital models. All the results are now freely available for viewing and download from the website: 3D-fossils.ac.uk.

The website is well used and frequently cited by academics popular with fossil enthusiasts. It was launched to the public at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in 2013 and the online 3D experience has proved popular with school children, particularly during the recent periods of lock down, including schools as far afield as Athens.