La Subterranea is a project that uses a laser to map out underground tunnels.

La Subterranea [is] an ongoing research project which takes its name from a tunnel and viaduct system running underneath and through the city of Guanajuato, Mexico. As riverbed, vehicular thoroughfare, and the historical back alley to the city, La Subterranea has evolved in a state of tension with the city above. Its use, form, and place has shifted over time, registering changing attitudes towards hygiene, shifts in transportation and hydrological infrastructure, and alterations to the natural topography. At present, La Subterranea is embraced as uniquely embedded cultural capital–contributing to the city’s designation as a World Heritage Site in 1988–and as a practical solution to the transportation problems in the city center. The authors traveled to Guanajuato and employed High Definition Survey equipment to assemble a precise three-dimensional model of approximately 2 kilometers of the length of La Subterranea. This study has resulted in the first methodical and accurate mapping of this system.

UPDATE: Mike wrote in with a link to another blog post about laser-mapping caves. Thanks, Mike!

[via Alexander Trevi]