Development and evaluation of a digital tool for virtual reconstruction of historic Islamic geometric patterns

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Texas A&M University

For the purpose of cultural heritage preservation, the task of recording and reconstructing visually complicated architectural geometrical patterns is facing many practical challenges. Existing traditional technologies rely heavily on the subjective nature of our perceptual power in understanding its complexity and depicting its color differences. This study explores one possible solution, through utilizing digital techniques for reconstructing detailed historical Islamic geometric patterns. Its main hypothesis is that digital techniques offer many advantages over the human eye in terms of recognizing subtle differences in light and color. The objective of the study is to design, test and evaluate an automatic visual tool for identifying deteriorated or incomplete archaeological Islamic geometrical patterns captured in digital images, and then restoring them digitally, for the purpose of producing accurate 2D reconstructed metric models. An experimental approach is used to develop, test and evaluate the specialized software. The goal of the experiment is to analyze the output reconstructed patterns for the purpose of evaluating the digital tool in respect to reliability and structural accuracy, from the point of view of the researcher in the context of historic preservation. The research encapsulates two approaches within its methodology; Qualitative approach is evident in the process of program design, algorithm selection, and evaluation. Quantitative approach is manifested through using mathematical knowledge of pattern generation to interpret available data and to simulate the rest based on it. The reconstruction process involves induction, deduction and analogy. The proposed method was proven to be successful in capturing the accurate structural geometry of the deteriorated straight-lines patterns generated based on the octagon-square basic grid. This research also concluded that it is possible to apply the same conceptual method to reconstruct all two-dimensional Islamic geometric patterns. Moreover, the same methodology can be applied to reconstruct many other pattern systems. The conceptual framework proposed by this study can serve as a platform for developing professional softwares related to historic documentation. Future research should be directed more towards developing artificial intelligence and pattern recognition techniques that have the ability to suplement human power in accomplishing difficult tasks.