Novel Pole Photogrammetric System for Low-Cost Documentation of Archaeological Sites: The Case Study of “Cueva Pintada”
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Close-range photogrammetry is a powerful and widely used technique for 3D reconstruction of archaeological environments, specifically when a high-level detail is required. This paper presents an innovative low-cost system that allows high quality and detailed reconstructions of indoor complex scenarios with unfavorable lighting conditions by means of close-range nadir and oblique images as an alternative to drone acquisitions for those places where the use of drones is limited or discouraged: (i) indoor scenarios in which both loss of GNSS signal and need of long exposure times occur, (ii) scenarios with risk of raising dust in suspension due to the proximity to the ground and (iii) complex scenarios with variability in the presence of nooks and vertical elements of different heights. The low-altitude aerial view reached with this system allows high-quality 3D documentation of complex scenarios helped by its ergonomic design, self-stability, lightness, and flexibility of handling. In addition, its interchangeable and remote-control support allows to board different sensors and perform both acquisitions that follow the ideal photogrammetric epipolar geometry but also acquisitions with geometry variations that favor a more complete and reliable reconstruction by avoiding occlusions. This versatile pole photogrammetry system has been successfully used to 3D reconstruct and document the “Cueva Pintada” archaeological site located in Gran Canaria (Spain), of approximately 5400 m2 with a Canon EOS 5D MARK II SLR digital camera. As final products: (i) a great quality photorealistic 3D model of 1.47 mm resolution and ±8.4 mm accuracy, (ii) detailed orthophotos of the main assets of the archaeological remains and (iii) a visor 3D with associated information on the structures, materials and plans of the site were obtained.
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