World’s largest dinosaur immortalized in digital 3D


While 3D scanning has been used in museums and to preserve artifacts for some time, usually these scans are of small individual objects that can be digitized for others to examine remotely – similar to how the Smithsonian Institution released its 3D object gallery last year.

Sometimes, though, opportunities arise for something bigger.

Much bigger.

While on vacation in Alberta Canada, a GeoSLAM mapping specialist took some time to scan a massive (oversized) model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex using just a Zeb Horizon – and the results are larger than life.

The team at geospatial 3D mapping specialist GeoSLAM has claimed the unusual accolade of creating a digital twin of the world’s largest dinosaur.

Standing at 85ft and weighing a mammoth 65 tonnes, Drumheller’s T-Rex in Alberta, Canada was scanned using the handheld Zeb Horizon in just four minutes and 12 seconds.

Nothing could tricera-top the feat of scanning this popular attraction, which, at 151-feet long, is 4.5 times bigger than its fossilized counterpart. With 106 stairs to climb to reach its jaws, and a mouth that spans 60sq feet, the record-breaking attraction cost over $1million to construct in 2000.

The device’s ‘walk and scan’ method of data collection enabled GeoSLAM’s Matt Teppler to remain at an arm’s length and scan the structure on-the-go from the ground, accurately capturing the finer details of the design during his vacation.

The Zeb Horizon was chosen due to its ability to map objects within a range of 100-metres, capturing 300,000 points per second to an accuracy of 1-3cm while on the move. These features enabled Matt to collect the more complex, hard-to-reach details on the subject, due to its height, that traditional static scanners may not have been able to capture.

The result of Matt’s scanning efforts are below (click for full size)

For more information on GeoSLAM, visit


About Author

Carla Lauter

Carla Lauter is the editor of and the SPAR 3D Newsletter. Before joining SPAR 3D, Carla spent 10 years on NASA and National Science Foundation funded projects focusing on Earth science and communication. She has worked on web-based outreach and online interactives for NASA Earth Science, including products for satellite missions measuring sea level, salinity and hyperspectral ocean color.


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