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Photogrammetry scans of real world pollinators!

Image of Butterfly going from a photo to a 3d representation
Processing stages from real butterfly to 3D mesh. Created by Maureen Saverot

In working with the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech, the Digital Imaging and Preservation Service has explored new practices for curating these specimens for educational access and for preservation. Given a selection of their insects for educational use, we have put them through the process of photogrammetry to create digital copies of these real world critters. First, hundreds of images are taken of the object on a rotating platform, with one image taken per every 5 degrees to create a complete rotation. Then, the process is repeated at multiple intervals along the vertical axis. Next, these images are brought into photogrammetry stitching software and processed through their sparse and dense cloud algorithms creating hundreds of thousands of points approximating the shape of the insect in space. From this dense cloud, the software creates a mesh which is analyzed for lost details compared to the original specimen. Then, the mesh is imported into 3D modeling software to repair problematic areas and create a mesh accessible for online viewing. This edited model is given the color and detail of the original mesh. The complete model is then uploaded to Sketchfab for display.


Nathan Hall, Paul Marek, Maureen Saverot, Tianyu Ge, Eva Deisa, Erin Chung, Katrina Enriquez, and Jillian Sy

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Virginia Tech's digital preservation statement:

"We preserve our digital library and repository content to ensure future accessibility and usability of digital assets using local digital preservation systems and geographically distributed digital preservation networks such as MetaArchive and Academic Preservation Trust, and by performing a biannual crawl and harvest of Virginia Tech's web presence using Internet Archive's Archive-It service."

--Digital Libraries & Repositories