DFG Viewer 3D – Infra­st­ruc­ture for digital 3D reconstructions

DFG Viewer 3D – Infra­st­ruc­ture for digital 3D reconstructions

The deve­lo­p­ment of a digital 3D viewer infra­st­ruc­ture for his­to­rical 3D recon­struc­tions is intended to offer a sus­tainable acces­si­bi­lity, archi­ving of 3D raw data and meta­data as a per­ma­nent infra­st­ruc­ture and to enable col­la­bo­ra­tion and expert dis­course on the digital model by genera­ting 3D web models from common data types. The pro­ject is funded by the German Rese­arch Foun­da­tion (Deut­sche Forschungsgemeinschaft/​DFG).

The overall goal of the pro­ject is to develop a digital 3D viewer for digital, source-based 3D reconstructions.

The Sub­goals are:

  • Crea­tion of an inter­di­sci­pli­nary app­li­ca­tion profile
  • Estab­lish­ment of a 3D repository
  • Deve­lo­p­ment of a docu­men­ta­tion stan­dard for the deli­very of the 3D model
  • Inter­ac­tive 3D visua­liz­a­tion of various data formats
  • Rights con­cept
  • Dis­se­mi­na­tion

In the joint pro­ject DFG 3D-Viewer the AI MAINZ is respon­sible for the web-based 3D visua­liz­a­tion (com­puter gra­phics) of mani­fold data sets as well as the estab­lish­ment of a 3D repo­si­tory and deve­lo­p­ment of a docu­men­ta­tion stan­dard (meta­data).

The archi­tec­ture of the DFG 3D-viewer is deve­loped con­si­de­ring exis­ting web-based 3D viewers. The frame­work for the sci­en­tific 3D infra­st­ruc­ture (con­si­de­ring docu­men­ta­tion and publi­ca­tion) is cross-browser, plat­form inde­pen­dent and based on modern pro­mi­sing and long-term sup­ported tech­no­logy. It has been decided to use 3D library called three.js. Our Viewer allows viewing of 3D models with tex­tures, stored in the most common for­mats used nowa­days (i.e. OBJ, DAE, FBX, JSON). The viewer is extended to meet the requi­re­ments of the 3D com­mu­nity, inclu­ding the pos­si­bi­lity of dis­playing highly com­plex geo­me­tries and other data for­mats (inter alia IFC and FBX). It will be also capable of loading 2D images (JPG, PNG, TIFF), 3D meta­data and pro­vide 3D world ope­ra­tions on models.

The solu­tion is inte­grable out of the box, open source and client-only in order to dis­tri­bute workload away from the server and mini­mize the requi­re­ments for repo­si­tory pro­vi­ders to sup­port the DFG 3D-Viewer. Moreover, uploading 3D data trig­gers auto­matic com­pres­sion on-the-fly (based on Draco algo­rithm) and enco­ding into the glTF format which is opti­mized for web-based visua­liz­a­tion. The Viewer itself can be used as Java­Script exten­sion and the server-side com­pres­sion was deve­loped as Drupal module.

An inse­pa­rable ele­ment of the publi­ca­tion of a 3D model is the attach­ment of the docu­men­ta­tion to ensure the sci­en­tific value of the model. During the pro­ject, a set of meta­data as a docu­men­ta­tion stan­dard will be pro­posed in coor­di­na­tion with the aca­demic 3D com­mu­nity. The meta­data schema is embedded in a pro­to­ty­pical 3D repo­si­tory based on the WissKI system, where 3D assets are uploaded and seman­ti­cally enri­ched. The field based data entry within WissKI system pro­vide human and machine read­able docu­men­ta­tion by using the app­li­ca­tion onto­logy OntSciDoc3D (Onto­logy for Sci­en­tific Docu­men­ta­tion of source-based 3D recon­struc­tion of architecture).


Fried­rich-Schiller-Uni­ver­sität Jena, Juni­or­pro­fessur Digital Humanities

Säch­si­sche Lan­des­bi­blio­thek – Staats- und Uni­ver­si­täts­bi­blio­thek Dresden


Deut­sche For­schungs­ge­mein­schaft (DFG) – Pro­jekt­nummer 439948010


April 2021 – März 2023


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