A WEB-BASED INTERACTIVE TOOL FOR MULTI-RESOLUTION 3D MODELS OF A MAYA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Keywords: 3D modelling, Visualisation, Cultural Heritage, Maya, Copan
Abstract. Continuous technological advances in surveying, computing and digital-content delivery are strongly contributing to a change in the way Cultural Heritage is "perceived": new tools and methodologies for documentation, reconstruction and research are being created to assist not only scholars, but also to reach more potential users (e.g. students and tourists) willing to access more detailed information about art history and archaeology. 3D computer-simulated models, sometimes set in virtual landscapes, offer for example the chance to explore possible hypothetical reconstructions, while on-line GIS resources can help interactive analyses of relationships and change over space and time. While for some research purposes a traditional 2D approach may suffice, this is not the case for more complex analyses concerning spatial and temporal features of architecture, like for example the relationship of architecture and landscape, visibility studies etc. The project aims therefore at creating a tool, called "QueryArch3D" tool, which enables the web-based visualisation and queries of an interactive, multi-resolution 3D model in the framework of Cultural Heritage. More specifically, a complete Maya archaeological site, located in Copan (Honduras), has been chosen as case study to test and demonstrate the platform’s capabilities. Much of the site has been surveyed and modelled at different levels of detail (LoD) and the geometric model has been semantically segmented and integrated with attribute data gathered from several external data sources. The paper describes the characteristics of the research work, along with its implementation issues and the initial results of the developed prototype.