Joint International scientific and practical conference
“Digital Century of Culture” and “EVA 2013 Moscow”

November 19 - 22, 2013


Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Russain State Library
Russian State Library
Russian association of digital libraries
Russian association of digital libraries
European Union
European Commission
PIK Centre
PIK Centre
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation
Interregional Center of Library Cooperation

List of reports (97)

3D-documents and Virtual Environments in a Museum Exhibition

Leonov Andrey

3D-document, Virtual Heritage, Virtual Environment

Bobkov A.E.

The development of technique for recording of spatial information about objects led to a rise of a new type of scientific and technical documentation: 3D document [1]. 3D document is specially organized information that is meant for providing user three-dimension visual image (3D model) of an object or a process, as well as various additional data connected with this visual image. Digital 3D model can contain data about the geometry (topology) and spatial orientation of an object, its external appearance and internal structure (elements, connections), characteristics of materials, dynamics in time etc. In a 3D document, the spatial information about the object’s geometry and structure is stored in some three-dimension system of coordinates that is connected with the object. This is the principal difference of the 3D document from drawings, diagrams, photo and film documents which retain the two-dimensional images of the object.
The simplest example of a 3D document is a three dimension point cloud model captured by a laser scanner. Other kinds of three dimension models could be built on the basis of the point cloud, such as polygonal mesh model or solid model. A 3D document can be also created as a result of tomography, photogrammetry, modeling based on drawings etc. More and more digital 3D models of real or historical objects are being created nowadays all over the world. Among them, models of artificial and natural objects of a public value – from cultural and natural monuments up to other kinds of a national or a world heritage [2]. Such 3D models are not only the new type of documents which preserve an information about the object, but also a new type of museum showpieces which may (and should) be demonstrated to a wide public.
Virtual 3D modeling is especially popular in such fields like virtual archaeology and historical architectural reconstruction. For example, we can mention a well-known Rome Reborn project which is devoted to a virtual 3D modeling of the Ancient Roma [3]. In 2012 the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia) held the First international conference in Russia on virtual archaeology. This conference had attracted dozens of reports in the field of virtual modeling and reconstruction [4].
Demonstration of a virtual 3D model allows to show in a museum exhibition:
1) large scale objects (towers, bridges, castles, underground structures, urban development etc.);
2) lost or vanished objects (archaeological reconstruction, historical architectural reconstruction);
3) remotely located and hard to access objects;
4) spatially distributed objects (for example, showpieces from different museums’ collections);
5) valuable showpieces or endangered objects (which has a restricted public access).
A 3D model enhanced with an appropriate software tools allows user to overview and explore the object independently, including its external appearance and internal structure, and to «travel» through the virtual model. «Gamification» [5] of an object’s presentation in a museum exhibition can significantly increase the audience interest, especially among children and teenagers. 3D documents could be used not only for demonstration of objects’ images to a wide public but also for analysis of objects by specialists, as well as for educational tasks.
In 2012 authors together with colleagues created a virtual 3D model of the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains, as well as the software for interactive stereoscopic visualization of this model and relative information [6]. Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains (Siberia, Russia) is a world famous Paleolithic site (51° 23′ 51.29″ N, 84° 40′ 34.34″ E). Regular archaeological excavations are being performed here since 1982, more than 20 cultural layers were revealed, and more than 80000 finds were collected. In 2008, a new branch in human evolution was discovered based on finds in the Denisova Cave [7].

In August 2012, we performed laser scanning and detailed photography of the cave. 37 scan stations were made; full point cloud contains about 50 millions of points. After this we created a textured polygonal 3D model based on the results of the laser scanning and photography. The model consists of about 90 thousand polygons. The resolution of the texture varies for the different parts of the model from 30 to 100 thousand pixels per 1 square meter of a model surface. Thus we have created a detailed 3D model of a cave which preserves its geometry and appearance with high accuracy and resolution.
The created 3D model was referenced in an archaeological coordinate system. This system is used by archaeologists for the spatial referencing (registration of location) of finds. Thus we provided a means to compare the 3D model and existing archaeological schemes, and directly transfer the existing archaeological database into a virtual space of the 3D model. We also scanned, photographed and modeled several finds made in the cave (stone implements).
In order to visualize the created 3D model of the cave, we developed an interactive 3D presentation (software). The presentation supports both mono- and stereoscopic visualization. It provides visualization of a point cloud, 3D model of the cave and 3D models of finds, as well as visualization of the spatial distribution of finds in different archaeological layers. It also supports visualization of additional data: cardinal directions, axes and grid of ASC, location of permanent marks of ASC. The 3D model of the cave can be virtually cut at any horizontal layer; this option helps to analyze visually the geometry of the cave and localization of finds.
The presentations have four windows: «Globe», «Cave», «Cloud of finds», and «3D model of an item». The user can switch between windows arbitrarily. In the «Globe» window, user can explore the virtual globe with an embedded model of a cave, and analyze the location of a cave and surrounding landscape. In the «Cave» window, the 3D model of the cave and other objects are presented. In the «Cloud of finds» window, only the location of archaeological finds is visualized (coordinates of finds, surfaces of archaeological layers, spatial orientation of finds). In the «3D model of an item» window, the user can explore 3D models of finds and switch between them.
The created 3D document can be used for presentations, as well as for research tasks (for example, visual analysis of stratigraphy and deposition of sediments). The presentations can be also used for virtual travel in the cave, including free online tours and museum exhibitions. It is especially important to have this information for remote and hard to access heritage sites, such as the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains.
[1]. Leonov A.V., Baturin Yu.M. 3D dokument — novyy tip nauchno-technicheskoy documentatsii // Vestnik arkhivista. 2013. № 2. S. 192-205.
[2]. Leonov A.V., Baturin Yu.M., Petropavlovskaya I.A. O neobkhodimosti 3D documentirovaniya pamyatnikov tekhniki: primer Shukhovskoy bashni na Shabolovke // Voprosy istorii yestestvoznaniya I tekhniki. 2013. № 3. S. 156-170.
[3]. Rome Reborn project web-site: http://romereborn.frischerconsulting.com/
[4]. Virtual Archaeology: Proc. of the First International Conference, held at the State Hermitage Museum 4-6 June 2012. St. Petersburg, The State Hermitage Publishers, 2013.
[5]. Marczewski, Andrzej. Gamification: A Simple Introduction & a Bit More. 2012. Amazon Kindle Edition. 153 p.
[6]. Mikhail Anikushkin, Aleksandr Bobkov, and Andrey Leonov. A 3D Documentation Project in Russia: Data Capture, Modeling and Representation // GeoInformatics Magazine (ISSN 1387-0858). 2013. September (No. 6). P. 38-39.
[7]. Johannes Krause, Qiaomei Fu, Jeffrey M. Good, Bence Viola, Michael V. Shunkov, Anatoli P. Derevianko, and Svante Pääbo. The complete mitochondrial DNA genome of an unknown hominin from southern Siberia // Nature. № 464. P. 894—897 (8 April 2010).

Section "Virtual Reality in Historical Reconstructions"

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