The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W3
23 Feb 2017
 | 23 Feb 2017


L. Fregonese, L. Taffurelli, A. Adami, S. Chiarini, S. Cremonesi, J. Helder, and A. Spezzoni

Keywords: HBIM, modelling, Cultural Heritage, complex architecture

Abstract. The Basilica of San Marco is a singular case in the field of Cultural heritage, as it constitutes a construction site always active for the maintenance and preservation of the basilica itself. The continuous intervention of conservation, due to the particular environmental conditions of Venice and the opening to the public, together with the complexity of the building itself, imposes the need to identify an optimized management system. For this reason, in 2013 the Procurator of St. Marco Basilica commissioned the construction of a 3D model of the Basilica to be used for the creation of a BIM. The model must meet the required precision of the scale of 1:50, and should also include, in addition to the geometric description, a description of the mosaic and marble surfaces of the basilica through high resolution orthophoto which are essential for the restoration of the mosaics.

The complexity of the church and the large and continuous flow of public led to work in non-optimal conditions especially for the acquisition stage. The basilica has certain peculiarities that led to some important choices, for example the use of photogrammetry instead of laser scanning technique. The same technique was preferred also by the need to realize, in addition to the geometric model, high-resolution orthophotos of marbles and mosaic surfaces.

The modelling of the basilica has highlighted a number of problems related to the building features. The basilica, indeed, is the result of the juxtaposition of elements (capitals, columns) with different origin, which therefore cannot be standardized in special libraries. Moreover, especially in the extensive mosaic areas, there are not edges that characterize the architecture, but only beveled surfaces. This has resulted in a change also in the modeling paradigm with the need to identify alternative systems even for the construction of simple elements. Therefore, we decided to model using NURBS since it is the method that allows greater adherence to reality and, at the same time, a model with acceptable dimensions in terms of navigation and usability. Only the most sculptural pieces such as capitals and statues have been replaced by mesh models.

As we were interested in different elaborations, the results of this work are a geometric NURBS model for the subsequent insertion into BIM environment, with the possibility of extracting two-dimensional drawings such as plans and sections, a mesh model with low resolution textures for online navigation and high resolution orthophotos.

The survey work and modeling has been almost completed for the interior of the basilica whereas only the external remains to be acquired and modeled. For the management of the entire work it was decided to use the data organization system already used by the Politecnico di Milano for the Duomo di Milano. The BIM3DSURVEY system will be essential not only to manage the finished model, but it has been very useful also during the construction phase because it allows us to divide the entire work into more work units. However, this system required some changes to meet the peculiarity of this BIM, in particular the need to append and link the orthophotos to real surfaces, in order to use the model also as a spatial index for the images.