Feature Development in 2018: Zooming and 3D Models

The development of features in Open Context frequently occurs in response to the needs of data authors. Since Open Context’s inception, we have emphasize that there is no “one size fits all” solution to sharing data, and so we have been open to a more organic development of features in the dynamic landscape of data publishing in archaeology. This has resulted in a variety of publication types– ranging from massive, multi-year excavation project databases with many authors to a collection of images or a single spreadsheet of data linked to research published in a journal article. Occasionally, a project will request a specific feature and cover associated software development costs. Such software development is always open source, and can be reused for all other current and future publications in Open Context. In this way, the community provides funding and input on interface needs and helps fund the development of features that can see wider application. Here are two recent features developed through this iterative, demand-driven approach:

Zoomable Images: The Kuthodaw Pagoda Inscriptions project, authored by Mark Allon and Tamar Ditrich, contains over 4,000 images. The project provided extra funding for the development of a dynamic image zoom feature, implemented using the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standard. Several other projects in Open Context benefit from this feature, including the ARCE Sphinx Project 1979-1983 Archive, which contains many high-resolution maps, drawings, and photographs. Click on the drawing of the Sphinx above to see how it works.

3D Models: An increasing number of projects are undertaking 3D documentation in the field and the lab. Rachel Opitz and the team of the Gabii Project requested and funded development of 3D models in Open Context, which are implemented in X3DOM and require no special software. Click on the image at the right to interact with an example 3D model developed through photogrammetry of a Roman road.

The Visualizing Votive Practice project (currently in development) is also supporting this work, but uses a somewhat different open source framework for delivering 3D-models. The technology is called 3DHOP and is developed by Fabrizio Galeazzi with York University and the Archaeology Data Service. As you can see in the example at the left of a 3D model of an Iron Age Cypriot statue, the 3DHOP technology enables very rapid delivery of complex 3D models over the network. This makes 3D models much more accessible, even with a mobile phone using a slow cell network.

As always, we appreciate your feedback on how to make Open Context work for you, as a data creator or a data user, so please get in touch!

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