ArchEyeAutomatic – Model-based optimization of trajectories of an octocopter for an automatic full documentation of monuments in Art History and Archaeology

ArchEyeAutomatic is a project developing new methods for automated documentation of historic monuments in 3-D using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). To achieve this objective, we combine methods from Robotics, Computer Vision and Scientific Computing as well as Building Research and Archaeology. We have two major intentions: On the side of Scientific Computing we optimize the route of the UAV while the acquisition of 3-D data is running and directly considered. This approach ensures not only a longer flight time but also a high data quality. This approach will adjust the data acquisition to the complexity of the building, since parts of it, like the roof, do not need the information density of other parts like the façades showing complex ornaments or decorations. The 3-D data will be acquired using the Stereo Vision approach, with which the UAV has two cameras attached in a known distance. The advantages are a direct dimensional accuracy and fast algorithms for the computing of the 3-D data. On the side of Building Archaeology the model will serve to find out how methods of visualization and mesh analysis can be used to support the traditional documentation work flow, for example by cuts through the model or automated stone detection for a stone-by-stone drawing. The resulting data will be the base for further research on the monuments and therefore fulfill the demands in completeness and quality. We also have an HD video camera in a special rig, intended for additional documentation of projects and objects. We will also have a stereo-vision camera-system, giving a first-person-view experience of the UAV’s flight. This will allow documentation and inspection of places difficult to reach.

This twinning project is a collaboration of the research group Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics at the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing with the Institute for European Art History.

Name and contact of project responsible(s):

Prof. K. Mombaur (IWR, Heidelberg University)
Prof. M. Untermann (Institute for European Art History, Heidelberg

Involved scientists and partners

C. Seitz (IWR, Heidelberg University) – main researcher

within Project ‘Documentation at UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey’,  with main focus on the King’s Hall (since 2012, ongoing):
Dr. S. Krömker (IWR, Heidelberg University))
Prof. M. Schuller, Dr. K. Papajanni, (Building Archaeology, TU Munich)
Dr. H. Schefers (Head of Lorsch Abbey Site)
Jun. Prof. Dr. B. Höfle, M. Hämmerle, (GIScience, Heidelberg University)
Dr. K. Weber (Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Hessen)
C. Kropp (Archäologisches Freilichtlabor Lauresham)

within Project ‘3-D acquisition of stronghold Ginsburg and castle Junkernhees’ (since 2012, ongoing):
Dipl. Rechtspfl. O. Wagener M.A. (Art History, Heidelberg University)
R. Siewert (Archive of the city of Kreuztal)

within Project ‘Documentation of museal objects using SfM’ (since 2014, ongoing)
S. Jäger M.A., Dr. K. Wirth (Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim)

within further excavations:
P. Scherrer, F. Krämer (Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz, Außenstelle Speyer), ‘Documentation of Lunette 38, Landau fortress’ (2014, completed)
Dr. K. Wirth (Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim), Excavation at Heddesheim (2014, ongoing)

Online references:

Talk at the “UAV Conference 2014: Big Work for Small Planes — Using  UAVs and Kites for Archaeology”:

Online-article on the work at the King’s Hall at UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey: