« Surfaçus » is the 3D surface imaging platform of the Direction générale déléguée aux Collections du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle


To perform 3D digitization of specimens in order to work for the valorization and the conservation of the MNHN's collections. The platform is open to the staff of this institution, as well as to outside scientists and curators, wishing to perform the 3D digitization of MNHN's collections specimens.

The technical capabilities of the available equipment allow the scanning of solid objects of variable dimensions specimens (from 1 cm to several tens of centimeters).


The equipment of the platform includes 2 surface scanners:

A RANGE 7 scanner
Scanner from KONICA MINOLTA, a measuring stand, a turntable (data acquisition and processing software: RangeViewer and Geomagic Wrap)
Faro Edge Arm scanner
Faro scanner, consisting of a measuring arm and a contactless FaroBlu TM scanner (Geomagic Wrap software). This scanner is graciously made available through a partnership with the NGO Global Digital Heritage.
CompanyKonica MinoltaFaro
Measurement methodTriangulation by the light sectioning method, CMOS technology
Laser class660 nm, IEC 60825-1, Classe 2450 nm, CDRH / IEC class 2M, blue laser
Max accuracy0.04 mm0.04 mm
Resolution0.04 mm0.03 mm
Acquisition rate (CMOS sensor)1 310 000 pixels (1 280 x 1 024 dots)560 000 dots/sec
Working distance450 mm à 800 mm120 mm
Reception lensTELE, LARGEFaro Blu TM contactless

The « Surfaçus » platform is located on the ground floor of Building 140, 43 rue Buffon, 75 005 Paris Contact : surfacus(a)mnhn.fr

Operating procedures

The electronic form is to fill on this page.

Each project call runs in a calendar year.

Constitution du dossier de candidature :

  1. Title of the project
  2. List of participants (a project leader and collaborators). The project leader (researcher, collection manager, doctoral student, master, external, etc.) is the one who carries out the data analysis work and the research work (or the museum use) that results from it. (Thus ensuring optimum demand for surface acquisition specificities).
  3. A summary (which, for selected projects, will be posted on the platform website and can be used in the dissemination documents produced by the platform)
  4. Project framework. Explanations on the broader framework in which the project fits (Master, Thesis, funded research programs (ANR, ERC, PICS, etc.), preventive conservation, exhibitions, restoration, etc.)
  5. Materials and methods: Details of the material to be digitized and technical requirements (number and size of specimens, photographs of specimens, any known acquisition parameters). Inventory numbers for MNHN specimens. Desired period for scanning (and possibly unavailability).
  6. Administrative information

Evaluation methods

The relevant collection managers must be consulted via the Colhelper interface (http://colhelper.mnhn.fr/) before submitting a file. For non-MNHN collections, prior agreement from the lending institution must be presented. It is imperative to fill in the complete inventory numbers for MNHN specimens to allow the preservation of the digital data produced. A response on the feasibility is given within two weeks after receipt of the complete file.

Become acquired imagery data

The digital data produced is always transmitted by the platform to the project leader. For specimens from external collections: the digital data produced is also transmitted by the platform to the custodian in charge of the specimen (s).

The images from the digitization of the Muséum collection objects are the property of the Paris National Museum of Natural History. The images right is given for the purpose defined in the initial application. After scanning, the images are associated with the Museum's database and made available to the community. Upon justified request, a period of exclusive use of the scanned data of 2 years (renewable once) may be considered.

Dissemination of scientific results

The publications resulting from a work carried out within the platform must at least show « Surfaçus » in the acknowledgments, under the terms « Surfaçus, numérisation surfacique 3D de la Direction générale déléguée aux Collections, MNHN, Paris ». A copy of the publications of which all or part of the work has been done by « Surfaçus » must be sent as soon as possible to the scientific or technical managers of the platform, in the form of reprints or PDF files. Each project promoter selected for digitization at the platform must send at the end of the year a complete list of their work (publications and papers to congresses) using these data to the scientific managers or the operator of the platform.