Combined Photogrammetric Techniques and Computer Vision: 2D–3D Recording of Gharissa, Jordanby Yahya Alshawabkeh, Khaled Douglas, Mohammad Matarya, Bilal Khrisat

Journal of Architectural Conservation


Building and Construction / Conservation


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Journal of Architectural Conservation

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Combined Photogrammetric Techniques and Computer Vision: 2D–3D Recording of

Gharissa, Jordan

Yahya Alshawabkeh, Khaled Douglas, Mohammad Matarya & Bilal Khrisat

Published online: 16 Jan 2014.

To cite this article: Yahya Alshawabkeh, Khaled Douglas, Mohammad Matarya & Bilal Khrisat (2011)

Combined Photogrammetric Techniques and Computer Vision: 2D–3D Recording of Gharissa, Jordan, Journal of

Architectural Conservation, 17:2, 77-92, DOI: 10.1080/13556207.2011.10785090

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Journal of Architectural Conservation July 2011

Combined Photogrammetric

Techniques and Computer Vision: 2D–3D Recording of Gharissa,


Yahya Alshawabkeh, Khaled Douglas, Mohammad Matarya and Bilal Khrisat


Traditional techniques for recording and modelling historical buildings using surveying instruments and CAD are tedious and time-consuming procedures, which do not provide detailed descriptions of complex façades. Recent developments in photogrammetry and laser-scanning techniques present non-contact, flexible and accessible surveying tools for 2D–3D recording. This paper discusses the potential for combining photogrammetry, laser scanning and computer vision for the documentation of heritage sites. By these means the efficiency of data collection can be optimized, and accurate true orthophotos of the studied structure can be generated using precise 3D surface representations derived from laser scanning and overlapping digital images. The final product allows the creation of detailed and complete façade plans, which are both graphically superior and accurate. The paper includes a study of the approach applied to historic buildings in Gharissa, one of the best preserved heritage villages in Jordan.


CAD modelling

Digital documentation and modelling of historic structures are very important for the conservation of cultural heritage.1,2 Traditional CAD (Computer Aided Design) is the classic and most common approach

JAC July 2011.indd 77 15/06/2011 12:15:28

D ow nl oa de d by [G eo rg e M as on

U niv ers ity ] a t 1 7:2 3 0 1 J an ua ry 20 15 78 Yahya Alshawabkeh, Khaled Douglas, Mohammad Matarya and Bilal Khrisat for creating digital 2D and 3D models of buildings.3,4 CAD modelling usually produces solid or surface models with a limited amount of curves. In archaeological applications, object shape is often characterized by abrupt changes in depth and irregular breaks on a surface. Hence,

CAD modelling is generally not considered to be appropriate for such applications. The models created are also not photo-realistic and are time-consuming and costly to produce for complex heritage sites.5

Image-based modelling

As an alternative to the classic building measurement and reconstruction methods, Image-based modelling, also called photometric modelling, has become an efficient and accurate non-contact data acquisition tool in cultural heritage applications.6 Image-based modelling is a technique for creating 3D models from a set of two-dimensional images of a scene.7 The geometry is created by identifying sets of common points from two or more source photos and since standard digital cameras can be employed, the required images can be captured at low cost and relatively quickly. Due to the flexibility of the approach it can be used for a wide range of objects and scenes.8 One example is the photogrammetric reconstruction of the great Buddha of Bamiyan.9

Realistic 3D models for architecture applications can be created based on a small number of photographs;10 however, the main advantage of photogrammetry is the potential for simultaneously providing both geometric and surface texture for objects to be depicted. Despite this potential, the photogrammetry technique is highly interactive and requires lengthy and tedious laboratory work, especially for complex sites and objects. Even more importantly, the reconstruction process requires good skills and well-defined features. Difficulties increase when dealing with reliefs and damaged or irregular surfaces, and image shadows are another problem, as some of the corresponding points may be missed.

Laser scanning

Recently, laser scanning has become a standard tool for 3D data collection and the generation of high-quality 3D models of cultural heritage sites and historical buildings.11 Laser scanners can collect thousands of 3D points every second at high levels of accuracy and precisely digitize complicated objects. Commercially available terrestrial laser scanners apply the so-called time-of-flight measurement principle in which distances to the respective object surface are derived from run-time measurements of reflected light pulses. Point clouds covering the visible object surface are collected by scanning the respective area of interest, resulting in a very effective and dense measurement