Workshop on 3D Heritage on the mobile web – Part Two

‘Use and discoverability of 3d in the context of Europeana’ by Jan Molendijk, Europeana Foundation

Jan talked about Europeana, the discoverability service for Europe’s digital heritage objects ( and the links with 3D-COFORM. Also, he pointed out that ‘The New Renaissance’ report (2011) recommends ‘the reinforcement of Europeana as the reference point for European culture on-line.

Statistics and numbers of Europeana’s impact:

Europeana has already reached 22M+ objects (typically images, text, audio, video files)

  • In 2011 Europeana had 3.5 m user visits a number that is growing by 2-3% per week.
  • A large network of aggregators has helped in expanding Europeana
  • ESE was replaced by EDM: europeana data model, richer semantic model, allowing hierarchy.

Future goals:

  • Open metadata
  • Portal API & APPs
  • Continue to grow coverage
  • More emphasis on quality
  • Publishing Linked Open Data
  • Add more types of objects, including 3D (adding 3d objects a request from CARARE and ASSETS projects)

How to get your objects in Europeana:

  • Aggregator
  • Metadata-descriptive drives discoverability
  • Mapping your metadata to EDM (or ESE)
  • Add a meaningful thumbnail image. (Statistics showed that objects with thumbnails are more likely to be viewed)
  • Current projects involved CARARE,ASSETS,3Dcoform


  1. How is Europeans being handling the issue of the copyrights?

Europeana encourages people to open up their content as much as possible but it’s a matter of negotiation. As far as the metadata is concerned: they are open as long as they are not complete essays about an artefact. In that case you still need to ask for permission.

  1. Are there standards for contributors to submit optimised visualisation for mobile phone displays?

This is mainly tackled by the web design so currently they do not have such standards

‘Mobile 3d visualisation: IPad Meshlab’ by Marco Callieri, ISTI-CNR

Marco is a researcher at Visual Computing Lab,ISTI-CNR and partner of 3DCONFORM and, presented the application of MeshLab for iOS, an advanced 3D model viewer ( This talk focused on the implications of visualising Cultural Heritage datasets and in particular:

  • overcoming the limits of the canonical iOS visualisation of 3D data: design a reusable visualisation component oriented to high-resolution 3D models.
  • user interaction with complex 3D entities: define new ways to map the touch-based interface on complex geometries.

Meshlab for iOS was initiated after the successful attempts of a master student who transferred the code of MeshLab in the iOS. Meshlab is purely visualisation tool; the user can load 3d models in the app, and inspect one model at a time interactively. Models can be downloaded from the web or from dropbox for example. So far, there isn’t any format conversion functionality.

As a viewing tool it can be used in a series of other applications

  • 50.000 moderately textured models but with Optimised Rendering Engine around 2 M polygons plus per vertex colour
  • The core visualisation component is entirely in C++
  • It is reusable and portable on most devices

Interaction issues:

  • Interacting with a 3D geometry is a bit confusing to the 3d mesh manipulation using the same metaphors used in 2D content…there are some interactions of tablet devices that were linked to the application.

The next step:

1. Profiling and customising of user interaction

2. Multi-scale navigation: the trackball behaves like a sphere when the view is far from the surface and follows more closely the surface when the view is near

3. It’s a wrapped up visualisation tool not for details

What to expect:

  • Specialised optimised and reusable widgets to be integrated in ibooks and educational apps
  • A de-facto standardisation of touch interaction
  • Exploitation of real time shaders, since on OpenGL ES it is much easier to use these features ( with respect
  • to the commercial visualisation plugins)
  • HTML 5 with webGL (good news webGL is OPen ES the bad news, a finger is still different from a mouse)
  • Local vs Cloud storage ( going back and forth between html 5 and remote storage)
  • The usual error: every attempt to use mobile device as a little pc has miserably failed

In three months’ time the Meshlab for android will have been developed!

‘Augmented & Mixed Reality for Cultural Heritage’ by Jens Keil, Fraunhofer, IGD

With the impact of smartphones and mobile devices, Augmented Reality (AR) is finally beginning to reach the masses. In the fields of Cultural Heritage and tourism in particular, AR offers new ways to engage users. Jens presented an overview of IGD’s work on Augmented and Mixed Reality applications in industries, cultural heritage/tourism and fairs/museums (both stationary and mobile) and addressed current development on mobile AR and MR. In the end, he presented a demo of a mixed reality application working on X3D extension for AR/MR with marker-based tracking.

Examples of Mixed Reality applications developed by Fraunhofer IGD institute:

  • synagoge at HeyeWall : failed to engage users and CH industries
  • Walkthrough via touchscreen
  • 2005 AR telescope visualising fossils
  • WebGL: Synagoge on line
  • X3Dom web-based online platform
  • Novel: camera controlled interaction
  • A future for the past (remote CH sites@ allard pierson museum)
  • iTacitus
  • Rome reborn


Back to Part One

On to Part Three