Our Shurijo project

Using crowdsourced images to digitally rebuild UNESCO World heritage site

Shuri castle is a 500 years old Japanese castle which can be found in Okinawa prefecture. In October 2019 unfortunately, a large fire broke out and destroyed the main hall as well as two adjacent buildings.

Shortly after the fire destroyed parts of the castle, a group of volunteers came together and started project Our Shurijo with one goal in mind. To create a digital twin of the castle to preserve how it looked in its former glory and provide the groundwork for future restoration.

For this purpose, they have used the power of photogrammetry. The benefit of photogrammetry is that it can create accurate and detailed 3D models from simple photos. Moreover, photos that were not taken at the same time or were captured throughout the years may be used as well. People behind Our Shurijo project made a call out to gather photos form tourist, extracted images from available videos; basically, have used all the available resources to obtain enough data to start re-building the castle in digital form.

Until this day over 35,000 images have been received from more than 3000 people from around the world who at some point in the past visited this place of historical and cultural importance. The goal is to obtain 1 million images, as more images are used the higher detail is obtained.

The images have been stitched together with RealityCapture software and created an outstanding result.

Our Shurijo project team consists of researchers from various areas including computer vision, human-computer interaction, virtual reality, and machine learning (University of Tokyo) but also photogrammetry experts with thorough knowledge of Virtual reality creation (Raiz media) or experts in the field of cultural preservation. (Iconem)

More about the project here.