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published: April, 2002

Archives & Museum Informatics, 2002.
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License


Museum and heritage applications of digital 3D imaging
Angelo Beraldin, National Research Council of Canada, Canada
Sabry El-Hakim, National Research Council of Canada, Canada
Guy Godin, National Research Council of Canada, Canada
John Taylor, National Research Council of Canada, Canada

Workshop: 3-D Imaging

In recent years, sensors and algorithms for three-dimensional (3D) imaging and modelling of real objects have received significant attention, not only in the computer vision and graphics research fields from which they originate, but also increasingly as an important tool for a variety of applications. The ability to create a digital representation of the shape and appearance of an existing object is a key enabling technology in many domains.

Three-dimensional imaging technology finds a challenging area of application in the high-resolution recording of heritage objects and sites. For example, 3D systems have been used for the digitizing of archaeological site features, ethnographic collections, paintings, sculptures and monuments as well as architectural elements on historic buildings. Once recorded, the 3D image data of a site or museum object can be used for a variety of applications including archival documentation, research, conservation, replication as well as interactive 3D virtual reality theatres and web-based virtual museums. Museum artefacts and archaeological or historical sites provide a variety of shapes, materials and environments, and impose specific requirements on the performance and use of the technology.

The purpose of this tutorial is to present an introductory and general overview of digital 3D imaging and its relation to museum and heritage recording applications.

The first part of the tutorial will discuss the fundamental aspects of the technology. Active optical measurements technologies as well as photogrammetric-type approaches to the measurement and modelling of object and scenes will be covered, and the advantages and limits of each technique will be discussed in the specific context of museum and heritage applications.

In the second part, we will illustrate concrete applications of this technology: since 1984, the NRC has undertaken a variety of projects to demonstrate the museum and heritage applications of 3D Imaging Technology. The purpose of these projects was to assess, under realistic conditions, the technologies and methods designed in the laboratory, and to further their development. Results and lessons learned over the years through these demonstration projects will be discussed.

Intended Audience:

The target audience is that of people interested in or involved in the development, evaluation and application of 3D imaging techniques in the museum and heritage field. The attendees should come out of the course with a fresh and un-biased approach to evaluating three-dimensional imaging systems and methodologies, and have a good grasp of the state-of-the art methods for digitizing and modelling objects and scenes, with a specific understanding of the issues that are unique to the museum and heritage field.

Prerequisites: none.