Rethinking 3D Visualisation
: From photorealistic visual aid to multivocal environment to study and communicate cultural heritage.

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research presents the issue of opacity in 3D visualisations of cultural heritage and explains how it prevents 3D technologies from being used to their full extent in an academic context. The impossibility to assess the provenance of the sources, cite references or identify individual contributions make the majority of available 3D models closer to mere illustrations than tools for the study and understanding of the past, regardless the amount of research that has informed the creation of the visual output.
An analysis of some of the existing strategies of documentation of 3D visualisations highlights the current lack of a standard, or even a common language, that would make such documentations comparable and cross searchable. This work suggests the use of a simple, sustainable and well-established technology as Linked Open Data, together with a tailored domain ontology, as a possible approach. The use of the synthetic and formalised vocabulary of an ontology, with its classes and properties, is used experimentally, as a proof of concept, to document the 3D visualisation of an ancient building, the Iseum in Pompeii, and to connect each part of the model to the documents that have been used as sources. The proof of concept also shows how the application of LOD technology can, potentially, change the way 3D visualisation is used in academia, not only making 3D models documented and, therefore, closer to a scientific publication, but, also, encouraging exchange and reuse of data and facilitating preservation.
The thesis discusses the rationale behind the creation of the ontology, its application to the documentation of a complex 3D model and its contribution towards a collaborative and transparent use of 3D technologies in academia. The 3D models, the ontology, and the text are equally important components of this work.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorStuart Dunn (Supervisor)

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