3D Visualization: Using Digital Reconstructions to Interpret the Past

Three dimensionality is how we view the natural, every day world. In today’s technological based world, 3D modeling is becoming more and more common in various work fields, especially historic preservation. Two dimensional drawings are no longer sophisticated and so the need for inclusion of 3D visualization is becoming more prevalent in historic preservation. The process assists in documentation and reconstruction of historic structures and landscapes.

3D visualization provides a(n):

  • non-intrusive and non-destructive means of exploring a building
  • common language between people/cultures
  • opportunity to possibly fulfill ADA requirements
  • educational/academic/entertainment opportunity
  • Marketing opportunity for a restoration project
  • attraction for possible donors

However, concerns also arise about these models and their interpretations. These concerns can involve questions such as:

  • How authentic are 3D models?
  • What academic concerns can these models raise?
  • What can we do to improve the authenticity of these models?

No matter how detailed or primitive the 3D model is, it still provides an opportunity to document potentially endangered historic sites. Depending on accessibility and affordability, anyone is able to document and interpret historic structures in a way that two dimensional drawings fall short in.


3D visualization allows for interpretation and documentation of historic structures.

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