Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: The documentation of cultural assets is inherently a multimedia process, addressed through digital representation of the shape, appearance and conservation condition of the heritage/cultural object. The digital model is expected to become the representation (forever, for everybody, from everywhere) and research needs to acknowledge the changing role that reconstruction, preservation and conservation now play in the representation of heritage and its analysis. Given the key role the digital model now plays, it is vital that its representation benefits new scholarship, research and developments in interpretation alongside the practical elements of curation, display and dissemination of knowledge. The 3D representations should go beyond current levels of visual depictions, support information integration/linking, shape-related analysis and provide the necessary semantic information for in-depth studies by researchers and users. This will offer new perspectives to researchers and new understandings to citizens, research users and the cultural and creative industries.. Digital surrogates can add a laboratory dimension to on-site explorations, generating new, more innovative questions challenges for our knowledge. It also can originate new avenues in the way tangible cultural heritage is studied, visualised, curated, displayed and monitored, significantly improving our understanding of Europe's unique cultural diversity and our capacity to communicate rich narratives about the past.

This challenge requires collaborations across disciplines, technologies and sectors, such as history, archaeology, cultural studies, anthropology and other areas of humanities and social science research on one side, and creative practice and digital developments in areas such as design and visual arts on the other side. The generation of high quality 3D models is still very time-consuming and expensive, not least because the modelling is carried out for individual objects rather than for entire collections. Furthermore, the outcome of digital reconstructions is frequently provided in formats that are not interoperable, and therefore cannot be easily accessed and/or re-used by scholars, curators or those working in cultural and heritage industries. This presents a risk to the sustainability of the reconstructions. This topic allows for a scaling up of such approaches in seeking to create researcher-led actions that will increase capacity and capability in this area..

Scope: The specific challenge will be addressed by the focused actions:

a)      Research on cost-effective technologies for advanced 3D modelling to enhance the understanding of cultural heritage. This interdisciplinary research should focus on developing new methods and tools for automated 3D modelling and analysis of physical cultural resources and assets (e.g. cultural heritage sites, monuments, sculptures, archaeological sites…) beyond simple digital reconstruction. Driven by the specific needs of the cultural heritage research community and research questions relating to culture and identity that can be enriched through new understandings of tangible heritage objects, projects can explore solutions such as the consolidation of imperfect data, spatio-temporal analysis, modelling/simulation of material degradation, joint reconstruction within and across collections and semantic-aware representation, taking into account the wide range of capture devices and sources of measurement data. Work should facilitate the creation of high-fidelity models of objects with particularly challenging features as regards surface, transparency, dimensions etc. Test-beds for such technological development should validate the practical application and analytic potential of new models for research, interpretation, scholarship and innovation in curation and dissemination. The resulting models should enable greater understanding of European tangible cultural assets by researchers and citizens as well as direct reuse for innovative and creative applications.

b)      Devise standard formats for the semantic-aware 3D modelling of Europe's cultural heritage for researchers and practitioners. Proposals should extend or develop standard formats of 3D semantic-aware objects with a view to improve their archiving, reusability and sustainability. The proposed formats should enable easy exchange, publishing and use of 3D models that have been acquired or generated by a wide range of devices or software. Central goal of these standardisation activities is the applicability, usability and sustainability of the 3D models to the European and international research and cultural heritage communities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: The research under this topic will provide new benefits to researchers through the development of cost efficient tools and effective methods for the modelling and understanding of Europe's cultural heritage. It will also promote interoperable standard formats for semantic-aware 3D modelling, analysis, and representation of cultural heritage in order to allow easy distribution , publishing and reuse of such models, which in turn will ensure sustainable cross-sector collaborative work in both development and research in future..

Type of action:

For a) Research and innovation actions

For b) Coordination and support actions, up to EUR 2 Million

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