Sunday 14 October 2012

Extreme SfM: precarious situations and workplace safety

This post is a further contribution regarding the main benefit of SfM: its versatility. 
Thanks to its speed during the phase of data acquisition, this technique allows us to intervene quickly in the case where the archaeological excavation exposes precarious situations, often related with collapsing structures.
The image below is good example: we were working in the vicinity of a church, checking the excavator. The left pictures shows the part of a wall which was exposed during this operation, while the right photo reports the same subject just twenty minutes later.

The wall befor and after the collapse
Luckily, seen the precaurious conditions of the structure, we decided to document it with SfM and IBM techniques, and this is the 3D restitution of the wall before the collapse.

The 3D model of the wall
However, the documentation of archaeological arthefacts before their destruction, is just one of the benefits of SfM (mainly related with the speed during data acquisition). In fact the versatility of this technique is strongly connected with the hardware we need to collect the data: a simple digital camera. This make it possible to work without the necessity of a direct contact with object to be documented (especially if we can support the excavation with a direct reflex total station, to record the Ground Control Points needed in the post-processing georeferencing operations). This way to operate lead to minimize the risk and increase the safety in the workplace. The images below regard an example of this situation: sometimes it happen to be called to evaluate the damnages of costruction sites, already underway without the archaeological control. In these cases it can happen to document precarious situation, but, using SfM techniques, there is no need to stand in risky places (like under a section with many gravel layers), because all the operations can be done from a safety distance.

The gravel section

The 3D puincloud (thin points)
The 3D pointcloud (thik points)
 I hope this post was useful, have a nice day!


  1. An effective example of SfM techniques used to solve daily and practical problems in archaeology. Thanks

  2. Gravel layers and SfM sounds familiar;)

    Very useful and practical.



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