About the project

What we aim

Heritage Within (HWITHIN) aims to develop an innovative approach to present buildings and archaeological ruins. The project proposes to implement state-of-the-art technologies to produce an innovative visualization of the cultural heritage by showing what is hidden to our naked eye and the unknown features of our buildings and archaeological assets.

New technologies developed in the recent years allow the accurate visual 3D reconstruction of our monuments, greatly enhancing the user’s experience and interaction with the cultural built heritage, since it helps exploring the sites with great detail, even remotely. However, 3D modelling techniques typically applied for this matter, such as photogrammetry and laser scanning, only allow reconstruction what is visible to the eye, namely the exterior surfaces of the elements. A range of advanced technologies, such as Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and ultrasonic acoustic tomography, exist  and allows to go beyond this barrier to document and reconstruct precisely the interior of the constructive elements.

HWITHIN intends to obtain a complete 3D reconstruction of ancient monuments, including the exterior and interior of their constructive elements. The final complete 3D model will be implemented into an augmented reality application to offer a unique visualization of our heritage. The visitor will be able to visualize the interior of the columns on an almost stone-by-stone basis, providing a unique didactic experience that will highlight the construction know-how of our ancient builders and will help understanding how the monuments were precisely constructed.

Specific objectives

  1. To develop a methodology for the full 3D reconstruction of ancient buildings and ruins, including: (a) 3D modelling of the exterior surfaces; (b) 3D reconstruction of the inner morphology of construction elements; and (c) combination of the two models into one single complete model.
  2. Collection, analysis, systematization and implementation of specialized information, such as archaeological information, construction and restoration phases, material properties, etc.
  3. Development of an easy-to-use application of augmented reality to show on-site the inner morphology of the structural elements, as well as the layers of specialized information previously created.

Research Tasks

3d-point cloud-01

Task 1

3D modelling of the exterior surfaces of the case study

3d-internal reconstruction


3D internal reconstruction of the columns of the case study


Task 3

Generation of a full 3D model of the case study


Task 4

Introduction of additional layers of information to the 3D model



Implementation of 3D model into an augmented reality application


Task 6

Dissemination of the results

Task 1 aims to model the exterior surfaces of the case study using terrestrial LiDAR and Unnamed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) based photogrammetry. The main outcome of this task is to produce a precise 3D digital model of the case study.

Task 2 deals with the 3D internal reconstruction of the case study using ultrasonic tomography and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). These two non-destructive techniques are particularly well suited for the inspection of structures and materials using acoustic and electromagnetic waves, respectively. The CSIC/UPM group will develop an automatic system to perform acoustic tomography in-situ, adapated to the shape and particularities of the masonry columns. As a result, the inner hidden morphology of the different parts of the columns will be reconstructed, on an almost stone-by-stone basis.

Task 3 aims to integrate the geometrical information obtained with the LiDAR and photogrammetric survey with the columns inner morphology information obtained through the acoustic tomography and GPR survey. The main objective of this task is to improve the 3D modelling by combining the information that each technique supplies separately. The main outcome of Task 3 will be a complete 3D model that contains internal and external geometric information of the object of study.

Task 4 takes advantage of the multidisciplinary nature of the team and aims to generate layers of specialized information of the case study, namely historical and archaeological data, construction phases, material and damage characterization, or structural analysis results, among others.

Task 5 includes the development of an augemented reality application, which is the final product that will be disseminated and will present the case study in the desired unique way. The objective of the task is to create a platform that can communicate the highly technical scientific results produced within the previous tasks in an educational manner that is easy to understand for everyone. It makes use of the latest digital tools and 3D photorealistic models for dissemination and storytelling of complex results. This effort will allow the general public to visualize our heritage in a way that was not presented before, including what is hidden from our naked eye and the unknown features of our buildings and archaeological assets.

Task 6 involves the dissemination of the outcomes generated, including a booklet and scientific communications. At the end of the project, a showroom will be organized at the Archaeological Museum of Carmo (the case study), where the augmented reality application will be experienced by the public.

Project team

The team includes highly trained professionals from different fields: architects, civil engineers, telecommunication engineers, archaeologists, art historians, and geophysicists. The project involves four participant institutions from three different countries: University of Minho (Portugal), the Spanish National Research Council and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Spain), and the Italian National Research Council (Italy). Full list of the project team here. The project has the support of the Archaeological Museum of Carmo, in Lisbon (Portugal), which is the outstanding project case study. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Contact us

You can contact the project coordinator, Javier Ortega, at the Institute for Sustainability in Structural Engineering (ISISE), University of Minho (UMinho) – Campus de Azurém, Guimarães 4800-058, Portugal, but you can contact other team members:

Margarita González Hernández, at the Spanish National Research Council – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).

Miguel Ángel García Izquierdo, at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM).

Nicola Masini, at the Italian National Research Council – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR).