4D Research Update

Publication: A Digital 4D Information System on World Scale

The team of the Jena4D research group at the Digital Humanities Department of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena under the lead of TMO secretary Jun.Prof. Dr. Sander Münster recently published a comprehensive overview of the challenges and preliminary results of the ongoing research project focussing on 4D modelling.


Numerous digital media repositories have been set up during recent decades, each containing plenty of data about historic cityscapes. In contrast, digital 3D reconstructions of no longer extant cityscapes have so far almost solely been performed for specific cases and via manual modelling techniques. The Jena4D research group is investigating and developing methods and technologies for transferring historical media and their contextual information into 4D models.

On the way to reach the consecutive next steps of automating the process and extending it to world scale, the team currently work on different facets: retrieving images, text, and object data from public sources; crowdsourcing and collecting qualitative data from contests and pupil labs; processing historical plans and photographs to extract spatial data; location-based mobile visualization; and collection-browsing interfaces.

The published article is intended to highlight (1) current challenges, (2) the state of the art, (3) the team’s approach to 4D modelling and visualization on the world scale, and (4) results from testing demo cases in Dresden, Jena, and Amsterdam.

Results of this research also play a major role in our currently running project 5Dculture, where we as TMO showcase the integration and presentation of the 3D models in Europeana as part of the deployment of the common European data space for cultural heritage.