Temples in Bangkok - Exploring panorama photography, 3D and VR modeling for education and cultural heritage preservation

In partnership with the Thakbong project led by Oliver Streiter, and Singapore Historical GIS by Kenneth Dean, we explore recent modes of modeling religious heritage sites, such as panorama 360 deg photography, 3D modelling with photogrammetry and/or lidar, or immersive VR environments. Different from traditional 2D imagery, these technologies are still very much in flux, and open standards, tools and processes are not yet well established.

The exploration of modes of recording field sites is framed partly as an inquiry into some of the sites that Wolfgang Franke has visited in the 1970s and 80s (Franke 1998, Streiter et al. 2019). Franke was especially interested in inscribed objects, such as steles, tablets, bells, censers etc. One question we ask is how the record has changed over the last thirty years. What objects have been added, which are changed, what has vanished? The new modes of recording the space also have the advantage that the user sees the objects finally in the context of architectural space, which is crucial for an understanding of how believers interacted with a site.

Paul McBain & Marcus Bingenheimer
Bangkok, 2022-2023

Selection of 360 degree panoramas (numbering according to Franke):

The panoramas were taken with a Trisio 2 360deg camera, aligned where necessary with Hugin, and are embedded on webpages with Pannellum.

3D models:

  1. Created with and hosted on Matterport
  2. Created with Blender and hosted on Sketchfab

The imagery for the 3D Models was taken with a Ricoh Theta Z camera.

VR environments: Still experimenting

[1] Franke, Wolfgang (ed.). 1998. Taiguo Huawen mingke huibian 泰國華文銘刻匯編 (Chinese epigraphic materials in Thailand). Taipei: Xinwenfeng chubangongsi, Minguo 87 [1998].

[2] STREITER, Oliver, Marcus BINGENHEIMER, Hanna Ya-qing ZHAN, Mandy Manwai TO, Syuan-fei SHIH. 2019. “First Steps towards Reviving Franke’s ’Chinese Epigraphy in Southeast Asia’: Motivations, Approaches and Data Structures” in O. Streiter, M. To, J. Morris (eds) Proceedings DRGPA 2019 (Documenting and Researching Graveyards in Pacific Asia), pp. 91-118.