PaleoView3D: FROM SPECIMEN TO ONLINE DIGITAL MODEL
Recent technological advancements in 3D data acquisition and the ability to digitize museum collections have revolutionized the way one can access and visualize paleontological specimens. Instruments like high-resolution CT scanners and 3D laser scanners have simplified the digitization process, paving the way for 3D online museums.
The goals of this study were two-fold. First, to automate, standardize, and document the laser scanning/modeling technique used to generate models for one such database, PaleoView3D. Second, using PaleoView3D as a test case, to illustrate the necessity for other websites to include detailed error studies, modeling protocols, and associated metadata to facilitate the comparative use of online morphological data.
Automation and standardization were achieved by coating specimens with ammonium chloride, constructing a nine-specimen multiscan platform, and implementing an autosurfacing macro which combined reduced modeling time by 60%. An extensive error study was performed to test the accuracy of this technique using controls of known dimensions. The process was highly accurate in all three dimensions with percent errors of: 1D = 0.4%; 2D = 0.05%; 3D = 1.74%. Because many of the specimens digitized were casts, a molding/casting error study was also performed. First and second generation casts (i.e., a "cast of a cast") deviated from the original specimen a maximum of ± 0.074 mm and, as expected, variation increased slightly with subsequent generations. By standardizing and documenting the methodology and accuracy of this technique, researchers can make an informed decision concerning how to utilize models from PaleoView3D.
Nicholas E. Smith. Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University, Huntington West Virginia, USA, 25755
* Present Address: Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, C1140, Austin, Texas 78712-0254, USA.
Suzanne G. Strait. Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University, Huntington West Virginia, USA, 25755.
KEY WORDS: laser scanning; 3D models; PaleoView3D.org; fossil mammals; Paleocene; Eocene
PE Article Number: 11.2.11A
Copyright: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology July 2008
Submission: 16 March 2008. Acceptance: 24 June 2008