Photogrammetry for Dinosaur Excavation

Preparations for a new dinosaur dig in August are focusing on three goals.

  1. Collection and documentation of dinosaur bones at erosional level of cliff
  2. Development of a 3D digital photogram of the quarry and cliff, to document specimen locations and coastal erosion.
  3. Document the specific sediments associated with the dinosaur bone bed.

There will be a small crew (3-4) working at the dinosaur site for 10 days in mid-August.

The bones of at least five individual dinosaurs have been recovered from the site during three separate excavations over the past twenty years.  Three of the specimens are  articulated skeletons that were preserved in direct contact, such as a leg drapped over another dinosaur’s tail.

Each new excavation provides an ability to improve upon the collection and documentation methods.  New field techniques will be explored this year, including the use of PhotoModeler Scanner (software) to produce a highly accurate 3D digital model of dinosaur quarry, as well as an overall 3D digital model of the eroding cliff.

During the past week, field trials with a new (D7100) camera and the PhotoModeler software concluded successfully with the development of an innovative solution for spherical targets to be used in the field.  Small white spheres need to be installed in the dig quarry in order to provide the 3D software with reference points.

Ping pong balls with magnets

Ping Pong sphere on spike

Small magnets were inserted through a hole drilled into the ping-pong balls.  The hole is then covered by a small bit of white tape.

The ping-pong ball can now be quickly ‘installed’ (stuck with a magnet) on to a large metal spike that will be attached to the cliff.

The spheres can be easily installed to produce the 3D photogram and then quickly removed from the spikes as excavation work resumes.









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