(ArcTron, Altenthann, Germany)

The practice of using 3D laser scanners in the documentation of archaeological, conservation and restoration projects is already well established and is continually being refined and improved.
Thanks to technological advances, the resulting 3D models are becoming ever more precise and realistic. But what happens to these high-precision models after they have been generated in lengthy processes demanding great scientific and technological effort? How can this outstanding data be made accessible and usable and, so, more valuable to science? 3D GIS systems provide an excellent solution to this problem. They enable 3D objects to be linked to external databases and extensive mapping to be generated using database queries.
ArcTron 3D GmbH has developed just such a system, which has been successfully employed on many projects involving items of international cultural significance. Our documentation system for cultural heritage, aSPECT 3D, specialises in handling very large point clouds and quantities of polygons as well as surface meshes with complex textures. In the latest version, aSPECT 3D 2008 interacts with a PostgreSQL database which can be freely structured and modified by the user. Not only does the system handle 3D geometries and textures, it also manages metadata concerning the 3D objects. Systematic database queries are generated using integrated filter functions and visualised (or mapped) in a further stage of processing.
In this way, aSPECT 3D 2008 has become a highly innovative tool for processing triangulated and photo-realistically textured 3D models.
The new aSPECT 3D system will be introduced using various examples from our most recent heritage projects.

Keywords: 3D GIS, aSPECT 3D, Databases