Directly after the reunification of Germany, the people of Dresden decided to reconstruct and rebuild their cathedral, the Frauenkirche, which had become a symbol first of the suffering of German civilians after its destruction in World War II and now a symbol of reconciliation.
However, no data such as architectural drawings were available. Everything was lost.
An innovative approach was suggested and worldwide crowd-sourcing took place in order to collect information, data and knowledge about the monument - but without the internet, of course. It took place through the conventional channels of mass media.
In this way, they started collecting photos, drawings, personal testimonies, records of marriages, baptisms and so on that had taken place there. From this information, highly accurate 2D and 3D architectural designs of the building were reconstructed.
This initial action laid the foundation for the first ever 3D reverse engineering project in the area of cultural heritage in human history. At the time, I was working on my PhD in Germany, when IBM-Deutschland (one of the main sponsors of this unique Dresden action) approached my team for support. From minimal data, working with IBM and other multidisciplinary experts, we contributed our algorithms and knowledge to the digital 3D reconstruction of this remarkable building.
In March 1994, at the world’s largest exhibition on ICT (CEBIT) in Hannover, Germany, IBM presented the first ever virtual reality presentation in cultural heritage by illustrating an unforgettable, panoramic walk through the Dresden Frauenkirche in a spectacular audio-visual 3D space.
This is a newspaper clipping from the Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany in 1994 when we presented our work in 3D scanning and modelling (reverse engineering) on the cathedral at the CEBIT 1994 exhibition in Hannover, Germany.
It shows myself with the CEO of IBM and Mrs Hannelore Kohl, the first lady of Germany.
In the last paragraph of the article I’m saying, “I’m going back home to Cyprus where there are a lot of archaeological sites and monuments, which I would like to scan, reconstruct and preserve with my software application ASMOS: Advanced Software MOdelling System”.