Virtual Reality and Point-Based Rendering in Architecture and Heritage

Virtual Reality and Point-Based Rendering in Architecture and Heritage

Omar A. Mures (University of A Coruña, Spain), Alberto Jaspe (CRS4, Italy), Emilio J. Padrón (University of A Coruña, Spain) and Juan R. Rabuñal (University of A Coruña, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5469-1.ch026


Recent advances in acquisition technologies such as LiDAR, range cameras and photogrammetry have put point clouds once again in the forefront of several fields with applications in Computer Graphics, Vision and Machine Learning, such as civil engineering, architecture, heritage and archaeology. Taking also into account new progressions in Virtual Reality that are also making VR relevant again, the possibilities when using these two technologies together are endless. From the improvement of architectural workflows, to the conservation of important ancient monuments, these two technologies can improve current efforts substantially. This chapter focuses on how these two fields can be combined in new and innovative ways, so that professionals can optimally exploit the advantages that these improved technologies can offer.
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Point-based rendering has been around for a while (Levoy & Whitted, 1985), but lately there has been a renaissance in point-based graphics. This is a consequence of the increment in acquisition hardware precision, and the decrement of its cost. Examples of point clouds used in heritage applications can be seen for example in (Boehler, Heinz, & Marbs, 2002). This work highlights the potential in the usage of laser scanners and point clouds to document cultural heritage sites. Furthermore, in (Yastikli, 2007) we can see another example in which the aforementioned technologies are proved to be extensively useful in heritage applications. In addition, in (Doneus et al., 2011) a new low-cost computer vision approach to obtain point clouds in archeological excavations is detailed. These new methods, in conjunction with new low cost hardware that will be presented in the next sections; present a huge opportunity to improve current workflows in heritage research.

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