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3D Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritages – The "Hirsau Abbey" Project

3D digital preservation and documentation of all cultural heritage sites in the whole world is still a very hot topic today. As an example the CyArk Foundation ( can be mentioned here.

In cooperation with the Verein "Freunde Kloster Hirsau e.V.", Calw-Hirsau, Germany, which is a registered association for taking care of an old monastery in the northern part of the Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, called the "Hirsau Abbey", three main parts of the Hirsau ruins (the Hunting Lodge, the Cloister and the Marian Chapel ) were recorded (figure 1). The aim was to have a complete 3D photorealistic model of the whole Hirsau Abbey. Both static LiDAR and close range photogrammetry have been employed successfully for the precise documentation of our cultural heritage study.

Figure 1: The three main parts of the ruins of the Hirsau Abbey

Since these "digital" heritage sites should be easily obtainable and accessible for the public, a combination by linking 3D photorealistic models of the heritage site with content of bibliographic resources, which describes the history of the site, is highly needed. Hirsau Abbey site is also selected as an example for linking contents of bibliographic resources to the 3D model. In particular, this will serve for the special needs of the Verein Freunde Kloster Hirsau e.V.

To do so, we combined successfully the community-based Wikimapia, an online map combined with a wiki system, and the Google 3D Warehouse which is a free online repository where you can share and store 3D models. At first, to find the site using Google Maps and secondly, to watch the site in three dimensions by means of Google Earth with a provided link to bibliographic resources and related texts (figure 2). Another option could be firstly finding the desired model in Google Earth, then move to Google 3D Warehouse, where the model is stored, and then proceed to Wikimapia, where you will get links to bibliographic repositories.

Figure 2: The Hunting Lodge, the Cloister and the Lady Chapel in Google Earth

In a first pilot project we have implemented the link of a 3D photorealistic model of one of the ruins of the Hirsau Abbey, which is called the "Hunting Lodge", with content of bibliographic repositories (figure 2), and then we extended the implementation to the 3D photorealistic models of the "Cloister" and "Lady Chapel".

Figure 3: The Hunting Lodge in Google 3D Warehouse (left) and in Wikimapia (right)

You can access the models at:



Moussa, W., Fritsch, D. [2010]
A Simple Approach to Link 3D Photorealistic Models with Content of Bibliographic Repositories, EuroMed 2010, LNCS 6436, pp. 482-491, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010.