Image-Based Underwater 3D Reconstruction for Cultural Heritage: From Image Collection to 3D. Critical Steps and Considerations

Part of the Springer Series on Cultural Computing book series (SSCC)


Underwater Cultural Heritage (CH) sites are widely spread; from ruins in coastlines up to shipwrecks in deep. The documentation and preservation of this heritage is an obligation of the mankind, dictated also by the international treaties like the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage which fosters the use of “non-destructive techniques and survey methods in preference over the recovery of objects”. However, submerged CH lacks in protection and monitoring in regards to the land CH and nowadays recording and documenting, for digital preservation as well as dissemination through VR to wide public, is of most importance. At the same time, it is most difficult to document it, due to inherent restrictions posed by the environment. In order to create high detailed textured 3D models, optical sensors and photogrammetric techniques seems to be the best solution. This chapter discusses critical aspects of all phases of image based underwater 3D reconstruction process, from data acquisition and data preparation using colour restoration and colour enhancement algorithms to Structure from Motion (SfM) and Multi-View Stereo (MVS) techniques to produce an accurate, precise and complete 3D model for a number of applications.



Part of the work presented here conducted in the context of the iMARECULTURE project (Advanced VR, iMmersive Serious Games and Augmented REality asnTools to Raise Awareness and Access to European Underwater CULTURal heritagE, Digital Heritage) that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727153. Authors would like also to thank M.A.RE Lab from University of Cyprus and the lead archaeologist Prof. S. Demesticha for providing data from several underwater sites, and moreover challenging the authors to overcome problems and shortcomings of the 3D documentation process in underwater CH.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lab of Photogrammetric Vision, Civil Engineering and Geomatics DepartmentCyprus University of TechnologyLimassolCyprus
  2. 2.Department of Topography, School of Rural and Surveying EngineeringNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece

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