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Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Engineering Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 32405

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Mining Technology, Topography and Structures, University of León, Avda. Astorga, s/n, 24401 Ponferrada, Spain
Interests: photogrammetry; drones; laser scanning; radiometric calibration; remote sensing; RGB-D sensors; 3D modeling; mobile mapping; metrology; verification; inspection; quality control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Bruno Kessler Foundation, Via Santa Croce, 77, 38122 Trento, Italy
Interests: photogrammetry; laser scanning; airborne mapping; 3D modelling; calibration; mobile mapping systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Cartographic and Land Engineering Department, Higher Polytechnic School of Avila, University of Salamanca, Hornos Caleros, 50, 05003 Avila, Spain
Interests: photogrammetry; laser scanning; 3D modeling; topography; cartography
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
3D Optical Metrology (3DOM) Unit, Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK), 38123 Trento, Italy
Interests: photogrammetry; laser scanning; optical metrology; 3D; AI; quality control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advance in the knowledge of the tangible components (position, size, shape) and intangible components (identity, habits) of an historic building or site is a fundamental and complex task in any project related to the conservation of cultural heritage (CH). In recent years new Geomatic techniques have proven their usefulness and added value in the field of Cultural Heritage (CH) in the tasks of recording, modelling, conserving and visualizing. In addition, current developments in building information modelling (HBIM), allow to integrate and simulate different sources of information generating a digital twin of any complex CH construction. As a result, experts in the area have increased the number of available sensors and methodologies. However, the quick evolution of geospatial technologies makes necessary to revise their use, integration and application in CH. This process is difficult to adopt due to the new options which are opened for the study, analysis, management and valorization of CH. Therefore, the aim of the present Special Issue is to cover the last and relevant topics, trends and best practices in geospatial technologies and processing methodologies for CH sites and scenarios, and also to introduce the new tendencies.

This special issue originates from the CIPA Symposium “CIPA 2019—Documenting the past for a better future”, which is held in September 2019 in Avila, Spain. One of the main symposium’s scope was to bring together scientists, developers and advanced users who apply sensors and methods in CH. The symposium focused primarily on multi-source and multi-sensor approaches; low-cost sensors and open-source algorithms for 3D modelling; automation in data alignment; image matching and 3D reconstruction; point cloud analysis; 4D modelling; Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM); accuracy requirement and assessment in CH; Underwater heritage documentation; Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR) applied to the visualization and conservation of CH. The most exciting and innovative papers presented at the symposium will be selected to be extended and included in this cornerstone Special Issue. It is hoped that this special issue provides the advice and guidelines required for any CH professional making the best possible use of this sensors and methods in CH.

We would like to invite you to contribute by submitting articles about your recent research, experimental work, reviews and/or case studies related to the field of 3D recording, modelling, conserving and visualizing of CH. Contributions may be from, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • 3D documentation in CH (photogrammetry, laser scanning, UAVs, mobile/handheld recording, 3D modelling, best practices, guidelines)
  • Underwater heritage documentation
  • Data and sensor fusion in CH (integration, registration, algorithms)
  • Point cloud processing in CH (filtering, segmentation, classification, modelling)
  • Semantic classification of point clouds in CH.
  • Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM)
  • Accuracy assessment in CH
  • Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR) in CH

Dr. Pablo Rodríguez-Gonzálvez
Dr. Isabella Toschi
Dr. Diego González-Aguilera
Prof Dr. Fabio Remondino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cultural Heritage 
  • Photogrammetry 
  • Range-based sensors 
  • Mobile sensors
  • 3D modelling
  • Sensor fusion and data integration 
  • Point cloud processing (filtering, segmentation, classification, modelling) 
  • HBIM 
  • VR/AR/MR

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 4377 KiB  
Article
Ground-Penetrating Radar and Photogrammetric Investigation on Prehistoric Tumuli at Parabita (Lecce, Italy) Performed with an Unconventional Use of the Position Markers
by Raffaele Persico, Emanuele Colica, Tiziana Zappatore, Claudio Giardino and Sebastiano D’Amico
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(5), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14051280 - 05 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1819
Abstract
In this contribution, we propose ground-penetrating radar (GPR) investigation performed close and on some prehistoric tumuli, locally called “piccole specchie”, in the countryside around the town of Parabita (Lecce), within the Salento peninsula (southern Italy). In order to perform the GPR [...] Read more.
In this contribution, we propose ground-penetrating radar (GPR) investigation performed close and on some prehistoric tumuli, locally called “piccole specchie”, in the countryside around the town of Parabita (Lecce), within the Salento peninsula (southern Italy). In order to perform the GPR investigation on the tumuli, an unconventional method of data acquisition was exploited, involving, consequently, some non-conventional data processing steps. Photogrammetric survey was also performed, and 3D digital models of the prehistoric tumuli were created. The investigations have revealed some anomalies under two out of three investigated tumuli, which were interpreted as prehistoric tombs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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22 pages, 5277 KiB  
Article
Challenges and Possibilities of Archaeological Sites Virtual Tours: The Ulaca Oppidum (Central Spain) as a Case Study
by Miguel Ángel Maté-González, Jesús Rodríguez-Hernández, Cristina Sáez Blázquez, Libertad Troitiño Torralba, Luis Javier Sánchez-Aparicio, Jesús Fernández Hernández, Tomás Ramón Herrero Tejedor, José Francisco Fabián García, Marco Piras, Carlos Díaz-Sánchez, Diego González-Aguilera, Gonzalo Ruiz Zapatero and Jesús R. Álvarez-Sanchís
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(3), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14030524 - 22 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4108
Abstract
This research presents a virtual tour performed on the oppidum of Ulaca, one of the most relevant archaeological sites of the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Iron Age (ca. 400–50 BC). Beyond the clear benefits of the tool to the interpretation, [...] Read more.
This research presents a virtual tour performed on the oppidum of Ulaca, one of the most relevant archaeological sites of the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Iron Age (ca. 400–50 BC). Beyond the clear benefits of the tool to the interpretation, dissemination, and knowledge of the mentioned archaeological site and its surroundings, the novelty of this research is the implementation of the platform in alternative scenarios and purposes. In this way, the present work verifies how the access to multi-source and spatially geolocated information in the same tool (working as a geospatial database) allows the promotion of cross-sectional investigations in which different specialists intervene. This peculiarity is also considered useful to promote tourism with an interest beyond the purely historical/archaeological side. Likewise, the possibility of storing and managing a large amount of information in different formats facilitates the investigation in the contexts of excavations and archaeological or environmental works. In this sense, the use of this kind of tool for the study of cultural landscapes is especially novel. In order to better contextualize the potential of the virtual tour presented here, an analysis about the challenges and possibilities of implementing this tool in environments such as the Ulaca oppidum is performed. The selected site stands out for: (i) being in a unique geological, environmental and ecological context, allowing us to appreciate how human beings have modified the landscape over time; (ii) presenting numerous visible archaeological remains with certain conservation problems; and (iii) not having easy access for visitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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28 pages, 75633 KiB  
Article
Integration of a Wearable Mobile Mapping Solution and Advance Numerical Simulations for the Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions: A Case of Study in San Pedro Church (Palencia, Spain)
by Luis Javier Sánchez-Aparicio, Rocío Mora, Borja Conde, Miguel Ángel Maté-González, María Sánchez-Aparicio and Diego González-Aguilera
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(7), 1252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13071252 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2674
Abstract
This work aims at enhancing the current methodologies used for generating as-built CAD models suitable for advanced numerical simulations. To this end, this paper proposes the use of a wearable mobile mapping system that allows one to improve the digitalization stage in terms [...] Read more.
This work aims at enhancing the current methodologies used for generating as-built CAD models suitable for advanced numerical simulations. To this end, this paper proposes the use of a wearable mobile mapping system that allows one to improve the digitalization stage in terms of flexibility and time required. The noise showed by the resulting point cloud, based on the simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) solution, demands a post-processing stage that introduces the use of a parameter-free noise reduction filter. This filter improves the quality of the point cloud, allowing for the adjustment of surfaces by means of parametric and non-parametric shapes. These shapes are created by using reverse engineering procedures. The results showed during this investigation highlight a novel application of this sensor: the creation of as-built CAD models for advanced numerical simulations. The results of this investigation are complemented by a valuable contribution with respect to the use of an advanced restoration solution, by means of textile reinforced mortar. To this end, the CAD model is used as the geometrical base for several numerical simulations by means of the finite element method. All this procedure is applied in a construction with structural problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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19 pages, 6115 KiB  
Article
Similarity Index Based Approach for Identifying Similar Grotto Statues to Support Virtual Restoration
by Wei Hua, Miaole Hou, Yunfei Qiao, Xuesheng Zhao, Shishuo Xu and Songnian Li
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(6), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13061201 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
Grottoes, with caves and statues, are an important part of immovable heritage. Statues in a particular grotto setting are often similar in geometric form and artistic style, and identifying the similarity between these statues can help provide important references for value recognition, condition [...] Read more.
Grottoes, with caves and statues, are an important part of immovable heritage. Statues in a particular grotto setting are often similar in geometric form and artistic style, and identifying the similarity between these statues can help provide important references for value recognition, condition assessment, repair, and the virtual restoration of statues. Traditionally, such reference information mainly depended on expert empirical judgment, which is highly subjective, lacks quantitative analysis, and cannot provide effective scientific support for the virtual restoration of grotto statues. This paper presents a similarity index based approach for identifying similarities between grotto statues by studying 11 small Buddhist statues carved on the 18th cave in the Yungang Grottoes, located in Datong, China. The similarity index is determined according to the hash values calculated based on the pHash method using the orthophoto images of Buddhist statues to identify similar statues. Similar feature points between the identified statues are then matched using the Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) operator to support the repair and reconstruction of damaged statues. The experimental results show that the variation of similarity index values confirms the visual inspection of the statues’ appearance in the orthophotos. The additional analysis of three-dimensional (3D) point clouds also confirms that the similarity index based approach is accurate in the initial screening of similar grotto statues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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39 pages, 33905 KiB  
Article
Marine Robots Mapping the Present and the Past: Unraveling the Secrets of the Deep
by Nadir Kapetanović, Antonio Vasilijević, Đula Nađ, Krunoslav Zubčić and Nikola Mišković
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(23), 3902; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12233902 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4261
Abstract
Underwater cultural heritage sites are subject to constant change, whether due to natural forces such as sediments, waves, currents or human intervention. Until a few decades ago, the documentation and research of these sites was mostly done manually by diving archaeologists. This paper [...] Read more.
Underwater cultural heritage sites are subject to constant change, whether due to natural forces such as sediments, waves, currents or human intervention. Until a few decades ago, the documentation and research of these sites was mostly done manually by diving archaeologists. This paper presents the results of the integration of remote sensing technologies with autonomous marine vehicles in order to make the task of site documentation even faster, more accurate, more efficient and more precisely georeferenced. It includes the integration of multibeam sonar, side scan sonar and various cameras into autonomous surface and underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle. In total, case studies for nine underwater cultural heritage sites around the Mediterranean region are presented. Each case study contains a brief archaeological background of the site, the methodology of using autonomous marine vehicles and sensors for their documentation, and the results in the form of georeferenced side-scan sonar mosaics, bathymetric models or reconstructed photogrammetric models. It is important to mention that this was the first time that any of the selected sites were documented with sonar technologies or autonomous marine vehicles. The main objective of these surveys was to document and assess the current state of the sites and to establish a basis on which future monitoring operations could be built and compared. Beyond the mere documentation and physical preservation, examples of the use of these results for the digital preservation of the sites in augmented and virtual reality are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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25 pages, 13116 KiB  
Article
Color and Laser Data as a Complementary Approach for Heritage Documentation
by Yahya Alshawabkeh
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(20), 3465; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12203465 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2721
Abstract
Heritage recording has received much attention and benefits from recent developments in the field of range and imaging sensors. While these methods have often been viewed as two different methodologies, data integration can achieve different products, which are not always found in a [...] Read more.
Heritage recording has received much attention and benefits from recent developments in the field of range and imaging sensors. While these methods have often been viewed as two different methodologies, data integration can achieve different products, which are not always found in a single technique. Data integration in this paper can be divided into two levels: laser scanner data aided by photogrammetry and photogrammetry aided by scanner data. At the first level, superior radiometric information, mobility and accessibility of imagery can be actively used to add texture information and allow for new possibilities in terms of data interpretation and completeness of complex site documentation. In the second level, true orthophoto is generated based on laser data, the results are rectified images with a uniform scale representing all objects at their planimetric position. The proposed approaches enable flexible data fusion and allow images to be taken at an optimum time and position for radiometric information. Data fusion usually involves serious distortions in the form of a double mapping of occluded objects that affect the product quality. In order to enhance the efficiency of visibility analysis in complex structures, a proposed visibility algorithm is implemented into the developed methods of texture mapping and true orthophoto generation. The algorithm filters occluded areas based on a patch processing using a grid square unit set around the projected vertices. The depth of the mapped triangular vertices within the patch neighborhood is calculated to assign the visible one. In this contribution, experimental results from different historical sites in Jordan are presented as a validation of the proposed algorithms. Algorithms show satisfactory performance in terms of completeness and correctness of occlusion detection and spectral information mapping. The results indicate that hybrid methods could be used efficiently in the representation of heritage structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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19 pages, 7304 KiB  
Article
Novel Pole Photogrammetric System for Low-Cost Documentation of Archaeological Sites: The Case Study of “Cueva Pintada”
by Susana Del Pozo, Pablo Rodríguez-Gonzálvez, David Hernández-López, Jorge Onrubia-Pintado, Diego Guerrero-Sevilla and Diego González-Aguilera
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2644; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162644 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3335
Abstract
Close-range photogrammetry is a powerful and widely used technique for 3D reconstruction of archaeological environments, specifically when a high-level detail is required. This paper presents an innovative low-cost system that allows high quality and detailed reconstructions of indoor complex scenarios with unfavorable lighting [...] Read more.
Close-range photogrammetry is a powerful and widely used technique for 3D reconstruction of archaeological environments, specifically when a high-level detail is required. This paper presents an innovative low-cost system that allows high quality and detailed reconstructions of indoor complex scenarios with unfavorable lighting conditions by means of close-range nadir and oblique images as an alternative to drone acquisitions for those places where the use of drones is limited or discouraged: (i) indoor scenarios in which both loss of GNSS signal and need of long exposure times occur, (ii) scenarios with risk of raising dust in suspension due to the proximity to the ground and (iii) complex scenarios with variability in the presence of nooks and vertical elements of different heights. The low-altitude aerial view reached with this system allows high-quality 3D documentation of complex scenarios helped by its ergonomic design, self-stability, lightness, and flexibility of handling. In addition, its interchangeable and remote-control support allows to board different sensors and perform both acquisitions that follow the ideal photogrammetric epipolar geometry but also acquisitions with geometry variations that favor a more complete and reliable reconstruction by avoiding occlusions. This versatile pole photogrammetry system has been successfully used to 3D reconstruct and document the “Cueva Pintada” archaeological site located in Gran Canaria (Spain), of approximately 5400 m2 with a Canon EOS 5D MARK II SLR digital camera. As final products: (i) a great quality photorealistic 3D model of 1.47 mm resolution and ±8.4 mm accuracy, (ii) detailed orthophotos of the main assets of the archaeological remains and (iii) a visor 3D with associated information on the structures, materials and plans of the site were obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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29 pages, 19837 KiB  
Article
A Hierarchical Machine Learning Approach for Multi-Level and Multi-Resolution 3D Point Cloud Classification
by Simone Teruggi, Eleonora Grilli, Michele Russo, Francesco Fassi and Fabio Remondino
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2598; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162598 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 5850
Abstract
The recent years saw an extensive use of 3D point cloud data for heritage documentation, valorisation and visualisation. Although rich in metric quality, these 3D data lack structured information such as semantics and hierarchy between parts. In this context, the introduction of point [...] Read more.
The recent years saw an extensive use of 3D point cloud data for heritage documentation, valorisation and visualisation. Although rich in metric quality, these 3D data lack structured information such as semantics and hierarchy between parts. In this context, the introduction of point cloud classification methods can play an essential role for better data usage, model definition, analysis and conservation. The paper aims to extend a machine learning (ML) classification method with a multi-level and multi-resolution (MLMR) approach. The proposed MLMR approach improves the learning process and optimises 3D classification results through a hierarchical concept. The MLMR procedure is tested and evaluated on two large-scale and complex datasets: the Pomposa Abbey (Italy) and the Milan Cathedral (Italy). Classification results show the reliability and replicability of the developed method, allowing the identification of the necessary architectural classes at each geometric resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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19 pages, 4967 KiB  
Article
A Hybrid Approach to Reassemble Ancient Decorated Block Fragments through a 3D Puzzling Engine
by Roberto de Lima-Hernandez and Maarten Vergauwen
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(16), 2526; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12162526 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2956
Abstract
The reassembling of severely damaged tangible heritage is a primordial task for archaeologists who not only aim to further study the past but also to preserve ruined ancient monuments. As a consequence, various researchers have proposed methods to automatically solve this problem by [...] Read more.
The reassembling of severely damaged tangible heritage is a primordial task for archaeologists who not only aim to further study the past but also to preserve ruined ancient monuments. As a consequence, various researchers have proposed methods to automatically solve this problem by computing and matching geometric properties of counterpart fragments. Although their results are quite promising, experts still carry out this task manually by finding relationships between distinctive matching cues, such as type of decoration, remaining traces, inscriptions’ content, etc. The topic itself poses challenges to both automatic and manual approaches due to the high level of damage ancient broken fragments have undergone over the centuries. Therefore, this paper proposes a Puzzling Engine that combines crucial elements of automatic and manual methodologies to empower experts with registration tools for reassembling fragmented heritage. Unlike similar hybrid human-computer puzzling engines, our approach is capable of automatically proposing matches and rough alignments solely based on the geometry of fractured surfaces. Based on these initial solutions and a set of registration tools, experts can accurately solve the puzzle. The virtual environment has been used and verified to find pairwise puzzle-pieces of actual antique wall decorated fragments, resulting in new discoveries that experts could not have come up with by utilizing classic techniques. Concretely, the contributions are twofold, (i) a feature-based registration pipeline that is able to suggest both matches and alignments to the user and (ii) a virtual interface that integrates automatic and user-assisted techniques to accurately puzzle fragmented surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors & Methods in Cultural Heritage)
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