abstract for CDH 2018

Centre for Digital Heritage meeting 2018:
3D archives, (re)use and Knowledge production, Lund 18–20 June 2018

Our abstract:

Integrating 3d Models and GIS for Digital Cultural Heritage

Recent advances in technology have helped make the capture and modelling of 3D digital cultural objects increasingly affordable. Ever growing numbers of cultural institutions have been digitizing their digital artefacts and sites. Regards the availability of 3D geometric modelling methods and 3D file formats, there are hundreds to choose from. However, an extremely challenging task is to identify the most appropriate 3D geometric modelling method and file format for the specific purposes of digital cultural heritage. In order to overcome those challenges, this paper first summarizes the most-common 3D geometric modelling methods such as constructive solid geometry, non-uniform rational B-splines, triangle meshes, and discusses their advantages, disadvantages and their typical application in the digital cultural heritage domain. Second, various 3D file formats are systematically analysed and discussed, with particular reference to architecture, to archaeology and to heritage studies. Third, future possibilities of 3D file formats and their potential for linking with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial databases are outlined. What are the successful exemplars but also major challenges for linking GIS, 3D models and heritage aims? Where do these modelling methods, formats, aims and disciplines converge or diverge? Would such combinations create major problems for archives?

Keywords: 3D geometric modelling, 3D file formats, 3D archives, digital cultural heritage

Ikrom Nishanbaev, Erik Champion, Hafizur Rahaman, Mafkereseb Bekele

Digital Humanities Research Infrastructures in Australia

Thanks to Curtin’s Faculty of Humanities and Computational Institute I attended the Australian Academy of Humanities 2 day Humanities Arts and Culture Data Summit, 14-15 March, hosted by the AHA https://www.humanities.org.au/ at the National Film and Sound Archive (NSFA), Canberra.

The below is from a brief report but may be of interest to those who’d like a quick guide to what is happening regards digital humanities research infrastructures at a National level in Australia.


Quick guide to social sciences/sciences platforms and RIs

  • Dr John La Salle, Director, Atlas of Living Australia https://www.ala.org.au/ biodiversity data
  • Dr Merran Smith, Chief Executive, Population Health Research Network http://www.phrn.org.au/
  • Andrew Gilbert, General Manager, Bioplatforms http://www.bioplatforms.com/andrew-gilbert/
  • Professor Bert Roberts, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, 1 year into Centre of Excellence https://epicaustralia.org.au/  “Now is the time to tell a culturally inclusive, globally significant human and environmental history of Australia. We like to call it, Australia’s Epic Story. The ARC Centre of Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) will undertake research that will safeguard our national heritage, transform research culture, connect with communities and inform policy.”


  • Professor Linda Barwick FAHA, University of Sydney – PARADISEC http://www.paradisec.org.au/ has funding issues but well respected, may require more computing to scale. “PARADISEC (the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) is a digital archive of records of some of the many small cultures and languages of the world”
  • Professor Julian Meyrick, Flinders University – AusStage http://www.flinders.edu.au/ehl/firth/focus/digitalhumanitiesanderesearch/ausstage.cfm “AusStage provides an accessible online resource for researching live performance in Australia. Development is led by a consortium of universities, government agencies, industry organisations and collecting institutions with funding from the Australian Research Council and other sources.”
  • Professor Mark Finnane FASSA FAHA, Griffith University – Prosecution Project https://prosecutionproject.griffith.edu.au/ “The criminal trial is the core of the Australian criminal justice system. It is the product of police investigation and its outcomes include the sentences of imprisonment that populate our prisons.” It is an impressive historical database. Overseas law researchers and historians (UK etc.) use it because it is better than theirs, apparently.
  • Alexis Tindall, Research Engagement Specialist – Humanities and Social Sciences Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (HASS DEVL https://www.ersa.edu.au/1-1-million-funding-humanities-arts-social-sciences-data-enhanced-virtual-lab/ “Humanities, Arts and Social Science researchers will get access to cutting-edge online tools and services thanks to $1.1 million in new funds for a collaborative virtual laboratory project. The Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Data Enhanced Virtual Lab (DEVL) will bring together fragmented data, tools and services into a shared workspace.”

Others included (but there were more)

  • Adam Bell https://aiatsis.gov.au/ (very good talk on problems funding and running archives), Canberra. “The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. We promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present.”
  • Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian, Australian National University, showed the library books destroyed by flood, said to applause that infrastructure included people.
  • Alison Dellit, Assistant Director-General, National Collections Access, National Library of Australia. Discussed the National Library’s Trove https://trove.nla.gov.au/ “Find and get over 569,383,366 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more”)
  • Professor Rachel Fensham, Chief Investigator Social and Cultural Informatics Platform, University of Melbourne https://scip.unimelb.edu.au/about “SCIP responds to current demand and future growth in the digital humanities, arts, and social sciences by providing the necessary informatics skills and technology platforms to support researchers, research students and strategic research activities.”



Curtin Cultural Makathon

Thanks to a Curtin MCCA Strategic Grant six reseachers and Library staff at Curtin University bought Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality equipment and ran two events to help staff develop digital prototypes and experiences using cultural data resources and digital humanities tools and techniques

  1. 26/08/2016 (AM) GLAM VR: talks on Digital heritage, scholarly making & experiential media (26/08/2016 (AM) 49 registrations-twitter: #GLAMVR16
    THEN Cultural Datasets In a Game Engine (UNITY) & Augmented Reality Workshop 6/08/2016 (PM) 34 registrations
  2. Curtin Cultural Makathon (11/11/2016) 20 registrations-twitter: #ccmak16 OH and before the Makathon, there was a TROVE API workshop! Or read Kathyrn Greenhill’s notes.

Our Curtin Cultural Makathon, great fun, four finished projects, excellent judges and data mentors, fabulous colleagues and atmosphere, plus pizza! Must do again but with more 3D and entertainment technology! Slides: http://slides.com/erikchampion/deck-4#/

There are also GLAMVR16 slides: http://slides.com/erikchampion/glamvr16-26-08-2016#/

Yes you can control the slides.com slides from your phone! if you like the slides.com technology, check out http://lab.hakim.se/reveal-js/

Want Western Australian / Australian datasets for your own hackathon? http://catalogue.beta.data.wa.gov.au/group/about/curtin-cultural-makathon


What are the Big (not only Grand) Challenges in Virtual Heritage?

Seems to me we leave this sort of topic to keynote speakers who almost accidentally argue for a field/issue/method/tool that they themselves (research centre, department) and associates are currently working on.
Human nature. But if people who are currently not working on defined projects/tools/applications/sites met and discussed the issues what would they say? I’ll stick my neck out and say

1 Impossible to find, access and use/re-use the models, tools, paradata.
2 No consistant, standard framework.
3 No best practices, prizes*, competitions (but plenty of surveys and state of the art papers-only they read to me more as literature reviews).
4 Interaction is not saved ( not just user data but the game mechanics and interactive tools and techniques).

How would this lead to challenges?

  • Are there tools or portals that can scrape the web and auto-retrieve not just 3D models but 3D heritage models?
  • Are the aims, objectives, paradata clearly available and could we create metadata wizards that coax this into the project?
  • What incentives are needed to convince content creators to link to, record or even deposit their models and related assets?
  • Can grant agencies (with their increased focus on data management) convince applications to deposit the models and provide ranked, hierarchical, freemium levels of access and reuse?
  • Can community tools and web portals (Mediawiki, Sketchfab, Archivematica) be sharpened as kit sets for communities?

*Best of heritage? I had high hopes but I met an organiser who told me this is not primarily what Best of heritage does. It isn’t a ranking/rating/critical appraisal system but a communication of what is happening in the (museum) field.

Curtin Cultural Makathon

Hack/slash/cut/bash/scrape/mod/mash – it’s a culture thing

Join the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts and Curtin Library Makerspace to hack cultural datasets and heritage information.

Use government and institutional research data, gallery, library, archive and museum information as data sources. Experiment with data for a research project or proposal; create something accessible, beautiful and/or useful using craft, games, augmented or virtual reality, apps or something else: it’s up to you.

Date:    Thursday 10 November 2016 (afternoon) & Friday 11 November 2016 (9am – 5pm)

Location: Makerspace, level two, Robertson Library (building 105), Curtin University,  Kent Street, Bentley

Registration: Free via Eventbrite

For more information visit the Curtin Cultural Makathon website.

To volunteer to assist with data or to sponsor a prize please contact Dr Lise Summers or Dr Karen Miller.

Curtin Cultural Makathon is funded by a MCCA strategic grant. For more details on the project contact Professor Erik Champion.