Visual Media Service - Back again and extended

Visual Media Service - Back again and extended
06 Mar 2019

Visual Media Service - Back again and extended

06 March 2019

Visual representations are of paramount importance for Cultural Heritage (CH) research; these data, however, are complex to manage and disseminate over the web, especially in the context of the humanities science domain.

The aim of the Visual Media Service is to provide CH researchers with an automatic system to publish, visualize and analyze images and 3D models in a shared workspace on the web, thus allowing sharing, interoperability and reuse of visual data.


Visual Media Service enables the easy publication and visualization on the web of high-resolution 2D images, RTI (Reflection Transformation Images) and 3D models. Originally designed and implemented in the framework of the EC "Ariadne" project, it has been enhanced and extended and is now the only platform providing a uniform service for different types of data files. In fact, all types of data (2D, RTI and 3D) are automatically converted in efficient web-compliant formats, supporting efficient compression, multiresolution encoding and on-demand transmission. A fourth data type has been introduced in this version, the "Image Set" type; it allows uploading collections of 2D images in a single action and offers a specific browser.

In addition to this, Visual Media offers several different attributes and functionalities to customize the web visualization tools. This process enables the creators of visual content (2D and 3D data) with a straightforward procedure for publishing those data on the web and providing interactive visualization support, thus enabling data sharing opportunities to ignite collaborative research on CH topics. Finally, yet importantly, it contributes to lead researchers in Cultural Heritage towards the adoption of virtual research environments to support research methodologies and to experience the use of cooperative visualization approaches.

Main achievements with Visual Media Service:

  • Enables automatic visual data conversion in efficient web-compliant formats and related data publication on the web;
  • Offers interactive visualization tools for different types of data (not just 3D), all of them with a common interface;
  • Does not require data content creators or data consumer to hold web management experience; they are required to fill a web form and to be able to use a standard web browser only;
  • Covers a domain where commercial systems offer only partial support (the main commercial competitor offers only 3D models support). 


  • Publishing and sharing data on the web becomes easy and straightforward, just as uploading a file on a web form!
  • Do not sacrifice data quality: our multiresolution encoding allows efficient management and visualization on the web of even extremely complex datasets.


Visual Media Service is another resource shared by CNR-ISTI, companion to MeshLab and 3DHOP, following the successful policy of delivering open source resources for enforcing the adoption of modern technologies and methodologies in CH and Digital Humanities. Other partners participating in the development in the framework of the EOSC project are: PIN and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage MIBAC.


Roberto Scopigno,
CNR-ISTI, Visual Computing Lab

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