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The European Commission launches a unique study on 3D digitisation of tangible cultural heritage

The study will enable cultural heritage professionals, institutions, content-developers and academics to define and produce high-quality digitisation standards for tangible heritage.


Cyprus University of Technology is coordinating a consortium of different actors from across Europe conducting this unique study. The study aims to identify all the relevant elements for 3D digitisation of tangible cultural heritage, classifying them by degree of complexity and purpose or use. It will also cover the specific types of equipment used throughout the different stages of the 3D digitisation process, and all the types of relevant data, including geometry, colour, texture and materials.

The study, which is unique in its kind, will catalogue

  • the technical parameters that determine the level of quality of 3D digitisation;
  • existing digital formats, standards, benchmarks, methodologies and guidelines for 3D digitisation; and
  • past or ongoing 3D digitisation projects and existing 3D models and data sets that can serve as benchmarks.

3D digitisation has significant potential and value in the area of cultural heritage. By signing the 2019 Declaration of Cooperation on advancing the digitisation of cultural heritage in Europe, 25 Member States and Norway and the UK have acknowledged the importance of 3D digitisation technologies for cultural heritage and the urgent need to make full use of them. The declaration also endorse a call for common standards, methodologies and guidelines for comprehensive, holistic 3D document of European 3D cultural heritage assets.

Tangible cultural heritage digitised in 3D can be a source of new knowledge, including with respect to climate-related impact and adaptation. Digitised cultural heritage also has great re-use potential in many sectors, including the creative and cultural sectors, but also education and tourism. The innovative re-use of digitised cultural heritage can be a significant contribution to a European sense of belonging and to European integration. It can also generate jobs and growth, in the creative and cultural sectors, but also for tourism in areas that are not among the most known or visited sites. By redistributing tourism flows more broadly, such processes will also contribute to making the most visited tourist sites more sustainable, by relieving some of the pressure.

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