Virtual Environments have commonly been used for the dissemination, education and public awareness of cultural heritage. However, interactive virtual environments have yet to be fully utilised as a tool to enhance the workflow for the archaeologist. When attempting to understand a particular cultural heritage site, a variety of data sources and technologies can be employed, resulting in potentially conflicting hypotheses regarding the development of a site through time.
In this research multiple data sources are utilised including sketches, historic maps, photographs and expert opinion to semi-automatically reconstruct different versions of an environment for a given time period. Drones are also increasingly being used to survey historic sites using photogrammetry, lidar, GPR and magnetometry to collect data enabling the construction of realistic and accurate virtual 3D models.
For example two images are shown on the top right of this page. The top image presents an image of 1880 Koblenz whereas the bottom image illustrates a semi-automatically generated 3d model. This research has been utilised by the Urban Modelling Group and Virtual Past (a collaboration with the School of History at UEA).
Often in cultural heritage the quest for enhanced visual realism has drawn research away from other important factors, such as interactivity, sound or touch. Previously image-based solutions have been investigated to enable high quality results, but this can detract from the user's immersive experience. Utilising new graphics rendering techniques enables high quality visualisations to be created in real-time. This research aims to permit the user to navigate and explore multiple hypothetical reconstructions of a site throughout time.
Brown, P.G, Laycock, S.D. and Day, A.M., Vectorising Building Footprints From Historic Maps, VAST: International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Intelligent Cultural Heritage, pp. 17-24, 2012.
Laycock, S.D., Brown, P.G., Laycock, R.G. and Day, A.M., Aligning archive maps and extracting footprints for analysis of historic urban environments, Computers and Graphics, 35(2), pp. 242-249, 2011.
Laycock, S.D., Laycock, R.G., Drinkwater D.M. and Day A.M., Real-time visualisation of multiple time dependent reconstruction hypotheses for a cultural heritage site, VAST: International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Intelligent Cultural Heritage, Braga, Portugal, December, pp 93-100, 2008.
Laycock, R.G., Drinkwater, D. and Day, A.M., Exploring cultural heritage sites through space and time, ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage, 1(2), New York, NY, USA, October, 2008
Laycock, R. G. and Laycock, S.D., Haptically aware movies. Touching high-quality computer-generated environments, In 3DVisA Bulletin, Issue 2, March 2007.
Laycock, R.G., Laycock, S.D., and Day, A.M., Haptic Navigation and Exploration of High Quality Pre-rendered Environments, In 7th VAST06, Cyprus, pp. 17-24, 2006.