Cyber Archeology, 3-D imaging, helps conserve Hampi Heritage site

30th December 2013
Cyber Archeology, 3-D imaging, helps conserve Hampi Heritage site
Picture credits: Main Hampi photo: Adarsh Padegal/ Wikimedia; Seitz steroscopic camera art Hampi: courtesy: Place Hampi

An IndiaTechOnline special report
Bangalore, December 30 2013: The Indian heritage site at Hampi, Karnataka has become a case study of cyber archeology -- the use of computer assisted graphical and imaging techniques to document, conserve and showcase the culture of bygone eras.
Deccan Herald reports this week that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken up the 3D scanning of the monuments in the heritage town. It has begun the process with the 16th century Vijaya Vittala temple and technicians have been camping here for the past four days for the purpose. The process will be taken up next at the Hajara Rama, the Achyutaraya and other temples.The 3D scanning pictures allow proper assessment of the damage and cracks, if any, in the structures. They will give conservation experts a peek into the current status of the monuments and a prediction of their longevity. The process helps plan protection of the monuments and an evaluation of the conservation measures taken so far.
Bangalore Mirror quotes M Nambirajan, superintending archaeologist, ASI: "Cracks and damages to the structures are captured exactly through 3 D images. This helps in preparing the conservation design as we can make close observations."
The Indian Institute of Technology pursued a 3-year project entitled "Image analysis for preservation and archiving of Indian Cultural Heritage". under the leadership of Professor Jayanta Mukhopadhyay, of the Computer Science and Engineering Department. In Hampi, there is an archeological museum where such stone carving and inscriptions are displayed . Digital images of many frescoes on the walls of monuments were captured. The project developed processing tools, such as enhancement, segmentation, super-resolution operations, etc. for providing better perception of such image captures. An information system for annotation, storage and retrieval of these images was developed.
The Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is also engaged in a project entitled Digital geospatial data generation and terrestrial scanning for 3-D reconstruction of Heritage site at Hampi.
Hampi has been the site of an ambitious  international  initiative involving UNESCO, the World Heritage Fund, the Indian Tourism Ministry and INTACH, which captured its glory using stereoscopic 3D panaromic cameras, integrating it 3D stereoscopic computer animation ( created by the Paprikas studio in Bangalore). The resulting exhibition Place Hampi  opened in 2008, unearths the archaeological imagination, to reveals the site of the ancient Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara (Hampi) in South India. Hampi is both a monumental World Heritage precinct and a vibrant centre for contemporary pilgrimage where history, the natural environment, mythology and everyday cultural practices are closely interwoven.