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3DHeritage – Safeguarding cultural heritage with your smart phone

The “3DHeritage” project provides a tool that enables citizens to create 3D reconstructions of endangered cultural heritage using their smartphones. This initiative is a collaboration between the Chair of Digital Humanities at Friedrich Schiller University, ICOMOS, and the Time Machine Organisation. 3DHeritage is a low-end 3D digitization pipeline to document heritage with images taken with…


Handy ready-to-use 3D reconstruction service

The 3D reconstruction service “3D Heritage” by researchers of the Chair of Digital Humanities (Friedrich Schiller University), ICOMOS and TMO enables the photographic recording and 3D documentation of endangered cultural heritage by citizens. Starting now, this service is freely accessible to anyone who wants to create 3D models of cultural heritage such as historical buildings or works of art with their mobile phone, at no charge.

War, terrorist attacks or natural disasters pose an immediate threat to our cultural heritage. Destroyed cultural assets are often lost forever. Against this backdrop, researchers from the Chair of Digital Humanities at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Junior Professorship for Digital Humanities), the non-governmental organisation for preservation of historical monuments ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) and the Time Machine Organisation as leading international alliance for cooperation in technology, science and cultural heritage started to work on the joint initiative 3DHeritage – a ready-to-use 3D reconstruction tool enabling the photographic recording and 3D documentation of endangered cultural heritage. With the current release, this service is now freely available to anyone who wants to create 3D models of cultural heritage, such as historical buildings or works of art, by simply using their mobile phone.

The goal is to document cultural heritage using images and 3D models from user-generated photos and to integrate them both in the Germany-based non-commercial DFG 3D viewer operated by the German Digital Library (Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek) and in Sketchfab, the world’s largest 3D repository[CM2] .

Create 3D reconstructions with your smart phone

3DHeritage is a free infrastructure for the digital 3D reconstruction of tangible cultural heritage. Objects such as buildings, works of art and collections can be photographed with the application and fed into the 3DHeritage portal. Photogrammetry then enables the 3D calculation based on the images uploaded to the portal servers.

“The distinctive feature of our application is that you can follow easy instructions on your smart phone when capturing an option. For other mobile applications, users normally need much more powerful systems. Our reconstruction service is easily accessible and available for everyone.” says Dr. Sander Münster, head of the Junior Professorship at the University Jena and Time Machine Organisation secretary. Münster continues: “Climate change and wars threaten cultural heritage and thus the cultural identity of people worldwide. We want to offer a freely accessible tool to help ensure that cultural heritage can be recorded and handed down and thus remains available for this and future generations.”

3DHeritage Workflow Scheme – Image: Jena4D Research Group