Academic journal article Change Over Time

Advanced 3d Recording Techniques for the Digital Documentation and Conservation of Heritage Sites and Objects

Academic journal article Change Over Time

Advanced 3d Recording Techniques for the Digital Documentation and Conservation of Heritage Sites and Objects

Article excerpt

According to UNESCO, heritage can be seen as a bridge between what we inherit and what we leave behind.1 But world heritage sites (natural, cultural, or mixed) suffer from the effects of wars, natural disasters, weather changes, and human negligence, often with extensive destruction and loss. In recent years, great efforts have focused on the conservation of cultural heritage and the documentation, in particular, of artistic and historic works, as well as natural heritage which has benefited from advances in recording and imaging. Indeed 3D data are nowadays a critical component to permanently recording the shape, dimensions, and volume of important objects and sites in the event of total loss or for replication. This has produced a large number of projects, mainly led by research groups, which have realized high-quality, accurate, and complete digital models.2 The actual technologies and methodologies for heritage 3D documentation allow the generation of very realistic 3D results (in terms of geometric and radiometric appearance) to be used for a range of applications such as archaeological (2D and 3D) documentation, digital conservation, computer-aided restoration, virtual reality/computer graphics applications, architectural reconstruction, 3D repositories and catalogs, Web geographic systems, visualization purposes, and more (Fig. 1). But despite all the possible applications and the constant pressure from international organizations to utilize this technology, a systematic approach to the use of 3D metric recording and modeling in the heritage field has not been created or promoted. This is due to several reasons: (1) the false belief that 3D recording is a "high-cost" technique; (2) the difficulties in assembling accurate and photorealistic 3D models by nonexperts; (3) the consideration that 3D information is an optional process for interpretation and 2D documentation is sufficient; and (4) the difficulty in handling and integrating 3D data with other more standard 2D material. But the availability and use of 3D data opens a wide spectrum of further applications and permits new analyses, studies, interpretations, conservation policies, and digital preservation and restoration.

Metric 3D Surveying and Modeling

"It is essential that the principles guiding the preservation and restoration of ancient buildings should be agreed and be laid down on an international basis, with each country being responsible for applying the plan within the framework of its own culture and traditions" (Venice Charter, 1964). Although stated more than forty years ago, a clear, rational, standardized terminology and methodology, as well as accepted professional principles and techniques for the application of digital documentation and presentation, has yet to emerge. Furthermore as stated by UNESCO, "Preservation of the digital heritage requires sustained efforts on the part of governments, creators, publishers, relevant industries and heritage institutions. In the face of the current digital divide, it is necessary to reinforce international cooperation and solidarity to enable all countries to ensure creation, dissemination, preservation and continued accessibility of their digital heritage" (UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage, 2003). Currently, digital documentation and 3D modeling of heritage sites and objects consists of3:

* metric recording and processing of a large amount of three-dimensional (possibly four-dimensional, including time), multi-source, multi-resolution, and multicontent information;

* management and conservation of the achieved 3D (4D) models for further applications;

* visualization and presentation of the results to disseminate the information to others;

* users allowing data retrieval through the Internet or advanced online databases;

* digital inventories and sharing for education, research, conservation, entertainment, walkthroughs, or tourism purposes. …

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