DECHO—a framework for the digital exploration of cultural heritage objects


We present a framework for the digital exploration of cultural heritage objects. Today computing and information technology is pervasive and ubiquitous and has boosted at unprecedented levels, information diffusion and productivity. Such technology is today a ripe context for succinctly gathering knowledge by combining in innovative ways powerful visualization tactics, rapid access to a significant amount of relevant information, domain-specific knowledge, and rich and pervasive tools to sort, group, and slice the information and knowledge in different ways. To this end, we present a complete framework that is easy to use, does not require expensive custom equipment, and has been designed for helping archaeology researchers and educators reconstruct and analyze the historical context of cultural heritage objects. Our main inspiration is that archaeology today would benefit significantly from having spur-of-the-moment access to information from a variety of heterogeneous data sources and being able to have multiple participants visually observe factual and visual data in an intuitive and natural setting. While we present a framework geared towards archaeology, in the long term we envision reusing it in a variety of fields.

Our framework includes data acquisition, data management, and data visualization components. The data acquisition component enables the fast, easy, and accurate addition of 3D object models and factual data, including narrations. The data management component includes a novel semantic database system that provides an intuitive view of the available contents in terms of an ontology, supports the addition of narrations, integrates data stored by other databases, and supports object retrieval, browsing, and knowledge navigation. The data visualization component provides visual feedback, which is a crucial part of an exploratory endeavor. It provides the ability to alter the appearance of archaeological objects, complete fragments of 3D object models, and several compelling forms of digital inspection and information visualization. All algorithms exploit knowledge from the database and from the obtained 3D models. Visuals can be applied on top of the physical object or on a 3D model shown in a traditional display, controllable via a Web page interface.


computing methodologies, computer graphics, information storage and retrieval, three dimensional graphics, image processing and computer vision, digitization and image capture, arts and himanities

Date of this Version





Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH), Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2011