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Google Earth and KML as GIS tools for 3D archaeological models

Britt Lonneville (UGent) , Berdien De Roo (UGent) , Cornelis Stal (UGent) , Bart De Wit (UGent) , Alain De Wulf (UGent) and Philippe De Maeyer (UGent)
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Abstract
Since its introduction in 2005, Google Earth has been downloaded over 1 billion times. It is by far the most popular virtual globe and has gained academic interest as well, mainly due to the incorporation of KML (Keyhole Markup Language). KML is an XML-based open source language that has been adopted as an OGC standard since 2008 and allows users to represent their own data on the virtual globe. KML is of particular interest for archaeologists, as it combines three key components of archaeological research: objects, space and time. Since the introduction of KML 2.0, georeferenced and textured 3D models (objects) can be added to any KML file and visualised in the virtual context provided by Google Earth (space). Furthermore, the fourth dimension – i.e. time – can be added by using time stamps or time spans. In order to reduce computation time and enhance the user’s experience, it is possible to define various levels of detail. A certain 3D model is represented with a specific pre-defined level of detail based on its zoom level. Semantic enrichment is achieved by linking text, tables, images and web pages to the respective models. This way, metadata and further information are easily accessible for the end users. KML, in combination with Google Earth as a visualisation platform, can be of great value once archaeological research has ended, as it allows researchers to disseminate their results to the general public. As Google Earth is a well-known, low cost and straightforward tool, it does not scare off potential users with limited IT knowledge and/or budgets. This research paper implements the aforementioned process for a specific archaeological site (Edzna, Mexico). The entire site, containing 16 buildings, is modelled using both terrestrial and aerial imagery supplemented with total station and GNSS measurements. Afterwards, these models are incorporated into a KML file using three levels of detail and adding semantic data and specific time spans for every modelled building. To improve the quality of the visualisation, an ortorectified image is used as a backdrop for the models. The case study shows the value and usability of this method and can function as an incentive for other archaeologists to disclose their research in a similar way.
Keywords
3D model, archaeology, KML, Google Earth

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Lonneville, Britt, Berdien De Roo, Cornelis Stal, et al. “Google Earth and KML as GIS Tools for 3D Archaeological Models.” Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts. 2015. Print.
APA
Lonneville, B., De Roo, B., Stal, C., De Wit, B., De Wulf, A., & De Maeyer, P. (2015). Google Earth and KML as GIS tools for 3D archaeological models. Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts. Presented at the Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology 2015 (CAA 2015).
Chicago author-date
Lonneville, Britt, Berdien De Roo, Cornelis Stal, Bart De Wit, Alain De Wulf, and Philippe De Maeyer. 2015. “Google Earth and KML as GIS Tools for 3D Archaeological Models.” In Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Lonneville, Britt, Berdien De Roo, Cornelis Stal, Bart De Wit, Alain De Wulf, and Philippe De Maeyer. 2015. “Google Earth and KML as GIS Tools for 3D Archaeological Models.” In Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts.
Vancouver
1.
Lonneville B, De Roo B, Stal C, De Wit B, De Wulf A, De Maeyer P. Google Earth and KML as GIS tools for 3D archaeological models. Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts. 2015.
IEEE
[1]
B. Lonneville, B. De Roo, C. Stal, B. De Wit, A. De Wulf, and P. De Maeyer, “Google Earth and KML as GIS tools for 3D archaeological models,” in Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts, Siena, Italy, 2015.
@inproceedings{6842704,
  abstract     = {Since its introduction in 2005, Google Earth has been downloaded over 1 billion times. It is by far the most popular virtual globe and has gained academic interest as well, mainly due to the incorporation of KML (Keyhole Markup Language). KML is an XML-based open source language that has been adopted as an OGC standard since 2008 and allows users to represent their own data on the virtual globe.
KML is of particular interest for archaeologists, as it combines three key components of archaeological research: objects, space and time. Since the introduction of KML 2.0, georeferenced and textured 3D models (objects) can be added to any KML file and visualised in the virtual context provided by Google Earth (space). Furthermore, the fourth dimension – i.e. time – can be added by using time stamps or time spans. In order to reduce computation time and enhance the user’s experience, it is possible to define various levels of detail. A certain 3D model is represented with a specific pre-defined level of detail based on its zoom level. Semantic enrichment is achieved by linking text, tables, images and web pages to the respective models. This way, metadata and further information are easily accessible for the end users.
KML, in combination with Google Earth as a visualisation platform, can be of great value once archaeological research has ended, as it allows researchers to disseminate their results to the general public. As Google Earth is a well-known, low cost and straightforward tool, it does not scare off potential users with limited IT knowledge and/or budgets.
This research paper implements the aforementioned process for a specific archaeological site (Edzna, Mexico). The entire site, containing 16 buildings, is modelled using both terrestrial and aerial imagery supplemented with total station and GNSS measurements. Afterwards, these models are incorporated into a KML file using three levels of detail and adding semantic data and specific time spans for every modelled building. To improve the quality of the visualisation, an ortorectified image is used as a backdrop for the models. The case study shows the value and usability of this method and can function as an incentive for other archaeologists to disclose their research in a similar way.},
  author       = {Lonneville, Britt and De Roo, Berdien and Stal, Cornelis and De Wit, Bart and De Wulf, Alain and De Maeyer, Philippe},
  booktitle    = {Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Abstracts},
  keywords     = {3D model,archaeology,KML,Google Earth},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Siena, Italy},
  title        = {Google Earth and KML as GIS tools for 3D archaeological models},
  year         = {2015},
}