University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

Font Size: 
Telling the story of ancient coins by means of interactive RTI images visualization
Gianpaolo Palma, Roberto Scopigno, Eliana Siotto, Sabrina Batino, Monica Baldassarri, Marc Proesmans

Last modified: 2011-12-17


Methodologies for virtual examination of Cultural Heritage artifacts through Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) are gaining interest. Although at the beginning this techniques were designed to aid Cultural Heritage specialists in the inspection and interpretation process, the recent advances of 3D web visualization platforms are increasing our capability to open this type of visual inspection to the ordinary public.
We present the design and implementation of a system that provide the access of ordinary people (visitors of the museum or web surfers) to a collection of ancient coins, preserved in the San Matteo Museum of Pisa (Italy). Those coins have been digitized to produce RTI representations and are presented to museum visitors together with some data telling their story and explaining their value.
The interactive presentation system, designed to be deployed either by a museum kiosk or by a web site, is composed of two integrated sections: a brief introduction to the different subsets of coins; an  interactive visualization of the RTI representation of each coin, by means of a specific RTI viewer. The coins are organized in different (possibly overlapping) subsets,  to allow us to better present them to a public of inexperienced visitors. Starting from the main theme, the Historical Collection  of the coins, we have some subsets about the iconography, the different production techniques (coining or fusion), the value of the coins, etc. After the selection of a specific subset, the user is presented a basic page containing an hypertext description with some basic information, a draggable image gallery with the thumbnails of the coins in the subset and the RTI viewer to display the specific selected coin.  The viewer supports visualization and interaction with the RTI image through a basic set of functionalities: changing the light direction, zooming, panning over the image, flipping the coin to switch between the two sides and finally the possibility to show some hot spots, which link specific locations/areas on the coin with descriptive data (presented by means of HTML hypertext page).


Reflectance Transformation Imaging; Virtual inspection; Coins documentation;