Historische Fotografie

Historical photographs are precious cultural goods of the past

They serve many disciplines as an important document in the development of historical landscape situations, settlement and building history, as well as an investigation and planning basis for monument protection, landscape planning and geomorphology. Due to the lack of metadocumentation in the huge archive holdings, however, it is very difficult to find and use the individual treasures. In the EU project PhotoStruk crowdsourcing-based procedures are to be used in order to open up large archive stocks through georeferencing and orientation of photographs and make them accessible on the basis of geoinformation. For this purpose, photographs of Atelier Seidel taken in the Bavarian-Bohemia border area are used and a web- and app-based methodology is being tested.

Museum Photoatelier Seidel

Museum Photoatelier Seidel in Český Krumlov with rich archive is owned and operated by city trading company Českokrumlovský rozvojový fond Ltd.(www.ckfond.cz). The archive covers a total stock of 140,000 photographs from the late 19th century to the 1950s. Approximately 20,000 photographs from the archive of the museum are currently digitized, which are documented and enriched with meta data in the PhotoStruk project through automated processes as well as citizen participation. This allows you to search specifically for photographs of a precise location or objekt in a specific time period.

More information about the photo archive of Atelier Seidel at  www.seidel.cz


In order to make the historical photographs accessible and usable, various approaches from computer vision and geoinformatics to citizen science are followed.

Development of an automated image analysis process

Through imaging processes, historical photos can be examined for objects, buildings, text, etc., and individual categories can be assigned automatically.

Image tagging & georeferencing

Regional knowledge of the general public can be used effectively to describe photographs and pictured objects in term of perspective as well as in content and georeferencing them on a map. In addition to cueing, the georeferencing of objects and thus the possibilities for analysis and spatial search as geoinformatics concepts could offer new access to archive data. In addition to the added value of the enrichment of information and the generation of data, new interaction opportunities for the public in dealing with cultural goods are created.

Relocation - what would the photographer see today?

The term "Relocation" describes the linking of a historical photograph with its original location. With the help of the location of the photographs new possibilities arise in the interaction and use of the photograph at this location for the purpose of information and analysis. As a technical process, the relocation provides data and approaches to achieve georeferencing and orientation as a spatial-perspective linkage, as well as possibilities of user interaction with photography, e.g. on digital devices. A mobile application should show the user historical photos of his surroundings depending on his current position. The user can then select a photo and photograph the same perspective by the insert of the historical one in a transparent manner into the camera view of the smartphone or tablet. Due to the "rephotography" relevant geodata can be assigned to the historical photo.

3D reconstruction of destroyed objects and deserted settlements

Georeferenced and oriented photographs are intended to provide new access to the analysis, reconstruction and documentation of findings and construction structures by combining them with other (geo)data of archeology and historical sciences. In addition to cartographic representation, 3D reconstructions and models are also available. For selected localities, data material is collected and approaches for 3D reconstruction and modeling are tested.

Archive system

The base of the whole solution is the archive, where archivals as pictures, postcards, scans, 3D models etc. and their metadata are safely and long-term kept. The archive itself has a hierarchical structure and each archival is properly placed both in space and time. How the time is going, the metadata linked to the archival can change and archivals arise and perish. The archive is a main and trusted data source for digital maps and the portal for both public and scientists. Scientists are registered in the archive and must authenticate themselves when entering it. They can check archivals and modify metadata in the archive and place them both in space and time. Scientists also decide what data and what quality are accessible to public. All archivals accessible to public are protected against unauthorized copying and are degraded by watermarks. The archive is responsible for data and metadata, its viewability, it protect them against theft, unauthorized manipulation, destruction and deletion.

Mobile Application

The University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice develops a mobile application providing an interactive access to the PhotoStruk data collection for Smartphones with Android operating system.

How can I contribute?

Regional knowledge is precious and needs to be collected.


Dive into historical archives and dig into our past.


Do you recognize a displayed object? Then you can mark it on the photo.


Share your expertise and tag the location or content of the photograph.


Exchange of information improves the quality of documentation. We are grateful for every suggestion.

Project partners

The project PhotoStruk is a joint project of University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and Technische Hochschule Deggendorf.

The main focus of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice is on the areas of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The strengths of the university lie in the research and development of the thematic area of lifelong learning and the focus on regional development. The project is implemented by the Institute of Applied Informatics, which is part of the Faculty of Science. For further information, please visit the university website at: www.jcu.cz.

On the German side, the project is carried out at Technologiecampus Freyung, a research institute of Deggendorf Institute of Technology with the main focus on computer science. The development of software applications, especially in the area of geoinformatics, the use of web technologies and the development of networked systems, are at the center of research and development. Further projects of the TCF can be found at: www.th-deg.de/tc-freyung.


Conference / Journal Title Files for Download
2019 Methodological handbook (in Czech)

The project tasks also included the compilation of a handbook of the project methodology. Its aim is to explain the procedures and methods used in the project, to analyze the problems we faced during our work and to point out that the proposed procedures can be further utilized by other projects with a similar focus.
9th International Conference on Advanced Computer Information Technologies (ACIT), 6.6.2019 Photostruk – Uniting Science and Humanities for the Reconstruction of Lost Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscape
5. Tagung Digital Humanities Austria in Salzburg, Austria - Empowering researchers, 30.11.2018 Gemeinsam Fotografieren dokumentieren - Kollaborative Arbeit von Experten, Laien und Maschine
6. International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality in Salamanca, Spain, 24.–26.10.2018 Artificial intelligence and the automatic classification of historical photographs
6. International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality in Salamanca, Spain, 24.–26.10.2018 Uncertainty in the spatial metadata of historical photographs: A geomatic and photogrammetric driven argumentation
European Association of Archaeologists in Barcelona, Spain, 5.–8.09.2018 Application of Geoinformatics and Crowdsourcing into Landscape Archaeology
5. Tag der Forschung an der Technischen Hochschule Deggendorf, 08.03.2018 Automatisierte sowie crowdbasierte Aufbereitung von undokumentierten, historischen Fotografiesammlungen
Agris on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Number 2, 2018 Geoinformatics and Crowdsourcing in Cultural Heritage: A Tool for Managing Historical Archives
Zlatý řez 40, 2017 Krajina dat - virtuální rekonstrukce ztracené Šumavy
37. Wissenschaftlich-Technische Jahrestagung der DGPF, 7.–10.03.2017 Crowd basierte Verortung historischer Fotografien und Konzepte zur verbesserten Aufarbeitung historischer Archive mit Hilfe geoinformatischer Konzepte

The project PhotoStruk is funded by the European Union in the program for cross-border cooperation Freistaat Bavaria - Czech Republic Objective ETZ 2014-2020 (Interreg V) by the European Regional Development Fund.

Project name: PhotoStruk - Analysis of historical photographs for the virtual reconstruction of cultural heritage in the Bavarian-Czech border area

Project number: 63

Project goal: The main goal of the project is to present abandoned villages in Bohemian forest through the virtual reconstruction of historical photographs. The project reacts on the necessary of strengthen the joint identity appearing through the historical connection of the population. The joint cultural heritage should be saved and preserved sustainably. Public accessible and innovative tools will contribute to increase the attractivity of the funded area by the preservation and high regard of the joint cultural and nature heritage.