The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W5
18 Aug 2017
 | 18 Aug 2017


F. Fassi, L. Fregonese, A. Adami, and F. Rechichi

Keywords: BIM, complex 3D model, web sharing, 3D visualization, orthophoto

Abstract. The Basilica of San Marco in Venice is a well-known masterpiece of World Heritage. It is a real multi-faceted architecture. The management of the church and its construction site is very complicated, and requires an efficient system to collect and manage different kinds of data. The BIM approach appeared to be the most suitable to collect multi-source data, to monitor activities and guarantee the well-timed operations inside the church. The purpose of this research was to build a BIM of the Basilica, considering all aspects that characterize it and that require particular care.

Many problems affected the phase of the acquisition of data, and forced the team to establish a clear working pipeline that allowed the survey simultaneously, hand in hand, with all the usual activities of the church. The fundamental principle for the organization of the whole work was the subdivision of the entire complex in smaller parts, which could be managed independently, both in the acquisition and the modelling stage. This subdivision also reflects the method used for the photogrammetric acquisition. The complexity of some elements, as capitals and statues, was acquired with different Level of Detail (LoD) using various photogrammetric acquisitions: from the most general ones to describe the space, to the most detailed one 1:1 scale renderings. In this way, different LoD point clouds correspond to different areas or details.

As evident, this pipeline allows to work in a more efficient way during the survey stage, but it involves more difficulties in the modelling stage. Because of the complexity of the church and the presence of sculptural elements represented by a mesh, from the beginning the problem of the amount of data was evident: it is nonsense to manage all models in a single file.

The challenging aspect of the research job was the precise requirement of the Procuratoria di San Marco: to obtain the 1:1 representation of all the mosaics of the Basilica. This requirement significantly increased the effort in the acquisition stage, because it was necessary to reach a submillimetre resolution in the photographic images sufficient to distinguish perfectly each single tessera, also in the highest domes (28 meters). Furthermore, it introduced a new problem about the management of the gigapixel - orthophotos.

The BIM approach presented in this paper tries to offer a solution to all these problems. The BIM application is based not on commercial software, but on a self-implemented system, which was previously tested on the Main Spire of Milano Cathedral. The multi-scale and multi-area approach have also been maintained in the BIM construction phase.

In the case of Basilica di San Marco, the most important requirement was the management of the orthophotos of each single element. It was necessary to give the user the possibility to recover, for each item, not only the geometric model, but also the raster representation -orthophoto- of its surface: in order to do it, the BIM model acts as a three-dimensional catalogue.