Apr 20, 2018 | By David

We’ve reported before on the use of 3D technology in the heritage sector. It has enabled cultural institutions to accurately replicate their collections, such as a museum in Virginia that 3D scanned and printed some of its artefacts to give visitors a more tactile experience. War-torn Syria has also seen its share of 3D printing-led heritage projects, intended to restore the ancient monuments destroyed by ISIS. Now Google has teamed up with non-profit organization CyArk to launch Open Heritage, which will be using 3D technology to improve access to some of the world’s other archaeological wonders.

As part of the Open Heritage project, Google’s Arts and Culture division has captured detailed images of 26 famous archaeological sites, including Pompeii in Italy and Syria's Al Azem palace. Many of these sites are threatened with destruction, either through warfare or natural disasters such as earthquakes. These 3D images and the image data will be made available for free, for users to download online or through an iOS or Android app. What they do with it, however, will depend on their own imagination.

''The mystery of what utility people might find in the data is part of the excitement,'' says John Ristevski, Chairman and CEO of CyArk. ''Some of the exciting frontiers are in virtual reality and augmented reality and we are excited to see what type of experiences people can build around heritage data – from immersive virtual tours to overlaying rich contextual information while you are on site – they all start with an accurate map of what is there.''

To capture the images, the Open Heritage project will be leveraging CyArk’s advanced LiDAR laser-scanning technology. CyArk was initially founded by Ben Kacyra, who is from Mosul, in Iraq. He was moved to action when he saw TV footage of Taliban members destroying ancient Buddhist statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, which had been built 1,500 years ago. He had already been part of development of the LiDAR technology, and realized that it could be put to use in a way that could help preserve some of the greatest achievements of humanity.

''Ben's invention was aimed at complex industrial environments such as oil refineries and submarines – things that were not so easily captured and described by traditional survey methods'', says Ristevski. ''The organic forms of many heritage sites are also hard to model so the application of LiDAR turned out to be a great fit and, combined with modern photogrammetry, can give us both accurate geometry and textures which are useful for a myriad of applications.''

(credit: Google / CyArk)

LiDAR rapidly builds up a detailed, textured picture of an environment known as a ‘point cloud’ by firing a laser at a surface and measuring the amount of time taken for the laser to return. Another technique that will be used to capture the 3D models is photogrammetry. This takes a large set of photos to create a 3D picture of a space, using algorithms to overlay different images of an environment, whether from handheld cameras or from drones, to create a replica of the structure.



Posted in 3D Technology



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shaun lamont wrote at 4/26/2018 6:44:10 PM:

bens "invention" was a repurposed tank mounted gun range finder. He did really well, but lets not romanticise reality.

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