Michael WAAS / David ZELL
(International Conservation Center – Citta di Roma, Akko, Israel)

Keywords: photogrammetry, conservation, heritage, documentation

The past few years has seen many developments in the world of 3D modeling of architectural and archaeological heritage. One of these developments is the expansion of 3D photogrammetry modeling programs into the practical and affordable world. Utilizing open-source software such as Meshlab, freeware such as 123D Catch, and licensed software such as Agisoft PhotoScan Pro,  it is now cost-effective to utilize photogrammetry on any project. These programs offer the world of practical heritage conservation an innovative and powerful tool for documentation, visualization/virtualization, and planning. This paper reports on the results of developing a low-cost methodology to pursue photogrammetry in the conservation of cultural heritage and in archaeology in the State of Israel for the Israel Antiquities Authority. Compared to high-cost alternatives such as laser scanning, which has been utilized in Israel before, the results have shown how effective photogrammetry is and can be for conservation and documentation of cultural heritage. Some of the applications include high resolution rectified models of effectively 2D planes (mosaics, wall and ceiling paintings), conservation planning on small and large scale cultural heritage sites, and the documentation of archaeological sites in 2D and 3D. By approaching photogrammetry from a low-cost level, it not only encourages its application in the field, it allows professionals at all levels to engage with the technology and to learn how to utilize the technology, whereas previously the application of the technology has been restricted to institutions and companies with enough capital and resources to spend learning and utilizing the technology and to hobbyists and other interested professionals, many of whom helped push the field towards lower costs.