THE VIRTUALIZATION OF CH FOR HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION: THE AR FRUITION OF THE FOUNTAIN OF ST. GEORGE SQUARE IN VALLETTA (MALTA)
Keywords: AR, VR, TLS, UAV, Photogrammetry, 3D modelling
Abstract. Improving accessibility to Cultural Heritage (CH) is an increasingly urgent challenge today. It is not only a matter of physical inaccessibility but also temporal, considering that part of CH now lost. Fortunately, the most modern technological tools are helping to break down both space and time barriers. In facts, recent advances in representation, 3D modelling and survey methodologies opened new scenarios for valorization and conservation of CH. In particular, the improvement of quality in resolution and sensor sensitivity of cameras allowed to achieve the right level of 3D reconstruction through digital photogrammetry procedures. In the same field, terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) allowed acquiring dense point clouds of complex environments with a millimetric level of accuracy. At the same time, the application of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies is an excellent solution for improving the accessibility to monuments, museums and archaeological sites. It is possible to share new levels of information about CH, in space and time, for touristic, managerial and scientific aims. This work is focused on the virtualization of CH, considering the study case of the fountain of Wignacourt, today present in St. Philip Garden in Floriana and initially located in Valletta (Malta). The application presented allows the virtual fruition of the monument placed in its original location, St. George Square. A simplified plant of the square will enable tourists to make a temporal journey in the past with their mobile device. The work is part of the Interreg Italia-Malta European project named I-Access, dedicated to the improvement of CH accessibility. It focuses the attention to the experimentation of new specific procedures in Geomatics necessary to solve big data issues of complex environment visualization.