Virtual Valcamonica: Collaborative Exploration of Prehistoric Petroglyphs and Their Surrounding Environment in Multi-User Virtual Reality

The 3D-Pitoti Scientists’ Lab involves a large vertical multiuser 3D display (powerwall) and a multi-touch enabled multi-user 3D tabletop display. We use both displays for different subtasks of the data exploration. Handheld virtual 3D displays, called Photoportals, provide additional access points for individual or collaborative interaction with the data.

Abstract

In this article, we present a novel, multi-user, virtual reality environment for the interactive, collaborative 3D analysis of large 3D scans and the technical advancements that were necessary to build it: a multi-view rendering system for large 3D point clouds, a suitable display infrastructure, and a suite of collaborative 3D interaction techniques. The cultural heritage site of Valcamonica in Italy with its large collection of prehistoric rock-art served as an exemplary use case for evaluation.

The results show that our output-sensitive level-of-detail rendering system is capable of visualizing a 3D dataset with an aggregate size of more than 14 billion points at interactive frame rates. The system design in this exemplar application results from close exchange with a small group of potential users: archaeologists with expertise in rockart. The system allows them to explore the prehistoric art and its spatial context with highly realistic appearance. A set of dedicated interaction techniques was developed to facilitate collaborative visual analysis. A multi-display workspace supports the immediate comparison of geographically distributed artifacts. An expert review of the final demonstrator confirmed the potential for added value in rock-art research and the usability of our collaborative interaction techniques.

3D Pitoti Scientists' Lab: The archaeological user story

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Publication

Kulik, A., Kunert, A., Beck, S., Matthes, C., Schollmeyer, A., Kreskowski, A., Cobb, S., D’Cruz, M., Froehlich, B.
Virtual Valcamonica: Collaborative Exploration of Prehistoric Petroglyphs and Their Surrounding Environment in Multi-User Virtual Reality
Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 26-3, p.297-321, 2018. DOI: 10.1162/pres_a_00297
[preprint]