TOWARDS A 3D BASED PLATFORM FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE SITE SURVEY AND VIRTUAL EXPLORATION
This paper present a 3D platform that enables to make both cultural heritage site survey and its virtual exploration. It provides a single and easy way to use framework for merging multi scaled 3D measurements based on photogrammetry, documentation produced by experts and the knowledge of involved domains leaving the experts able to extract and choose the relevant information to produce the final survey. Taking into account the interpretation of the real world during the process of archaeological surveys is in fact the main goal of a survey. New advances in photogrammetry and the capability to produce dense 3D point clouds do not solve the problem of surveys. New opportunities for 3D representation are now available and we must to use them and find new ways to link geometry and knowledge.
The new platform is able to efficiently manage and process large 3D data (points set, meshes) thanks to the implementation of space partition methods coming from the state of the art such as octrees and kd-trees and thus can interact with dense point clouds (thousands to millions of points) in real time. The semantisation of raw 3D data relies on geometric algorithms such as geodetic path computation, surface extraction from dense points cloud and geometrical primitive optimization. The platform provide an interface that enables expert to describe geometric representations of interesting objects like ashlar blocs, stratigraphic units or generic items (contour, lines, … ) directly onto the 3D representation of the site and without explicit links to underlying algorithms. The platform provide two ways for describing geometric representation. If oriented photographs are available, the expert can draw geometry on a photograph and the system computes its 3D representation by projection on the underlying mesh or the points cloud. If photographs are not available or if the expert wants to only use the 3D representation then he can simply draw objects shape on it. When 3D representations of objects of a surveyed site are extracted from the mesh, the link with domain related documentation is done by means of a set of forms designed by experts. Information from these forms are linked with geometry such that documentation can be attached to the viewed objects.
Additional semantisation methods related to specific domains have been added to the platform. Beyond realistic rendering of surveyed site, the platform embeds non photorealistic rendering (NPR) algorithms. These algorithms enable to dynamically illustrate objects of interest that are related to knowledge with specific styles. The whole platform is implemented with a Java framework and relies on an actual and effective 3D engine that make available latest rendering methods. We illustrate this work on various photogrammetric survey, in medieval archaeology with the Shawbak castle in Jordan and in underwater archaeology on different marine sites.