UMR CNRS/MCC MAP 694
Keywords: Applications, Scientific visualisation, architectural heritage, virtual reality, VRML, interpretative modelling
When studying patrimonial edifices or sites, documentary sources, may they originate from archives or from contemporary survey campaigns, provide partial evidences from which the researcher will infer possible scenarios on how an edifice or site may have evolved throughout the centuries. Documentation analysis and visualisation are therefore vital to the understanding of the architectural heritage. They are the only scientific basis from which virtual renderings can be proposed and justified. Still, the making of 3D scenes in our field of experimentation is most often only in relation with communications goals. Virtual renderings, although presented as visualisations of an edifice, totally mask the semantics behind the scene, meaning the reasons behind the shapes and in definitive any kind of scientific analysis since they provide certainty where only probability should be considered. Such seducing results may be of great use, they may be considered as a visualisation of geometrical shapes, but in no way can they be considered as visualisation of architectural heritage data. We propose an approach of data visualisation in which 3D scenes act as interpretative interfaces to the documentation, and in which the objects represented are given appearances that show what can be stated form the reading of each object's documentation. We have defined a methodology in which the documentation is analysed and attached to architectural concepts with respect to the notion of scale, and in which the concepts are given representations that are used both as visualisations of the documentation's analysis and as interfaces in the documentation's database. Our experimental set is the centre of the city of Kraków (Poland). We introduce in this paper several recent developments of our research : a combination of persistence mechanisms that includes XML parsing and RDBMS, links between objects and documentary sources, symbolical visualisation of undocumented / non-dimensioned objects. We also introduce a recent experimentation of this framework at structural scale on major edifices in Kraków's city centre.