Documentation, Processing, and Representation of Architectural Heritage Through 3D Semantic Modelling: The INCEPTION Project

Documentation, Processing, and Representation of Architectural Heritage Through 3D Semantic Modelling: The INCEPTION Project

Federica Maietti, Roberto Di Giulio, Marco Medici, Federico Ferrari, Anna Elisabetta Ziri, Beatrice Turillazzi, Peter Bonsma
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 37
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1234-0.ch009
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Documentation, data processing, and representation of Architectural Heritage through digital models are one of the main challenges in the field of conservation, preservation, management, and inclusive use and understanding of European heritage assets. In this framework, the impact of Industry 4.0 is more and more crucial, since new technologies, devices, and digital environment are strongly influencing the ways in which heritage contents are explored, used, managed, and shared, also in citizens' everyday life. In this direction, the INCEPTION project – founded by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme – develops key-targeted innovations in efficient 3D digitization methods, post-processing modelling tools, semantic web-based solutions, and applications to ensure a wide and aware access to digital Cultural Heritage. This chapter presents main actions achieved by INCEPTION.
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The digital revolution is leading to new and innovative forms of artistic creation while making culture and heritage more accessible and opening up new ways of enjoying cultural content. Making our cultural heritage widely available in the digital era is vital. It is great news that many Member States will now work closer together to fully leverage the cultural opportunities brought by digital technologies”. This is the opening statement to the Digital Day 2019, held in Brussels, by Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics. This short declaration summarizes some of the main challenges related to the so-called “4th industrial revolution” and its impact in the field of Cultural Heritage. Accessible heritage, new ways of enjoying cultural contents, digital technologies, are some of the key words leading from the potential of 3D digital modeling and representation to new ways of visualization, application and data processing towards understanding, enhancement and conservation, up to restoration of Cultural Heritage.

In this perspective, efficient 3D digitization methods, post-processing tools for an enriched semantic modeling, web-based solutions and applications to ensure wide access of heritage contents to experts and non-experts are the key results of the INCEPTION project. INCEPTION - Inclusive Cultural Heritage in Europe through 3D semantic modeling, has been funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020Work Programme Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective Societies (Call Reflective-7-2014, Advanced 3D modeling for accessing and understanding European cultural assets).

The project development has been split in five different actions (Figure 1) in order to cover the main challenges and requirements in terms of changing role of digital models in the field of Cultural Heritage, semantic enrichment, interoperable formats, collaborations across disciplines and use and reuse of digital sources.

The first one develops a common framework for integrating different expertise, in order to pursue holistic and critical research and an inclusive interdisciplinary approach, making possible the real integrated data capturing of the second action. Once data are collected, the semantic modeling allows to aggregate data in an effective way. Thanks to the adoption of BIM (Building Information Modeling) standards, in the fourth action, it is possible to develop a platform to collect, archive and share semantically enriched models. In the end, in the fifth action, the deployment of such data is performed through user-oriented application, starting from the interoperability with existing ones (Di Giulio, Maietti, & Piaia, 2016).

Figure 1.

The roadmap of the overall project architecture


INCEPTION has moved from the consideration that, as part of 3D integrated survey applied to Cultural Heritage, digital documentation is gradually emerging as effective support of many different information in addition to the shape, morphology and dimensional data. The increasing development of 3D laser scanner technologies allows creating high definition databases based on even more detailed three-dimensional morphometric data. These “digital archives” are an extremely valuable research tool in cultural heritage field, although there are still some limits to the exploitation of 3D models obtained by laser scanner survey (Maietti et. al., 2017). The growing numbers of un-exploited and “un-interpreted” 3D models points out the remarkable need for innovative methods that could benefit from the informative value provided by new systems for surveying and representations as well as data management tools.

In addition to the explanation of the INCEPTION project, innovative strategies in heritage documentation through the implementation of effective data collection processes and the development of semantically enriched 3D models will be presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Semantic Approach: integration and connection of semantic attributes hierarchically and mutually aggregated to 3D geometric models to manage heritage information.

INCEPTION Platform: Semantic-based BIM platform for Cultural Heritage sites grounded on semantic web technologies. The platform makes extensive use of WebGL and RESTful APIs, in order to enrich heritage 3D models by using Semantic Web standards.

Use Case: A list of actions or steps, typically defining the interactions between a user and a system, to achieve a goal. Use cases in Cultural Heritage represent the actions defined within the framework of conservation, enhancement, protection, understanding, etc. of cultural heritage assets.

Demonstration Cases: set of heritage asset, which serves as case studies in order to illustrate the applicability of the use cases in a variety of real scenarios, and the overall project methodology.

Holistic Documentation: Overall retrieving of critical information regarding a heritage’s main attributes and characteristics, able to define it as a whole and to identify its significance and main needs. It includes morphometric survey, historical documentation, features, state of conservations, etc.

Inclusive Approach: INCEPTION is based on a methodology that stimulates and facilitates collaborations across disciplines, technologies and sectors, making the platform a space for interchange of information and for the dialogue among different users.

Time-Machine: Functionality within the INCEPTION platform that allows using of time-scale for dynamic 3D digital reconstruction with emphasis on how the modelled cultural heritage evolves over time.

Evaluation Categories: Incremental categories developed within the Data Acquisition Protocol to be compliant with according to specific purposes of the heritage survey and documentation.

Data Acquisition Protocol: Flexible and upgradable guidelines providing a workflow for a consistent development of survey procedures for tangible cultural heritage tailored to different requirements.

Heritage Workflow: set of actions through which it is possible to access and retrieve specific information on the INCEPTION platform, that make possible defining the required user tools, for which technical solutions can be designed and implemented. There are typical Workflows according to specific needs (restoration, site management, virtual reconstruction, etc.).

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