Determination of location of the historical objects using photogrammetric methods and methods of non-destructive ground research

Lviv polytechnic National University
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
National Museum of History of Ukraine
Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union

The aim of the research was to determine the territory of the mass graves near Ralivka village (Lviv region) using  archival data and to display them on modern maps. To define the place of mass executions and burials from the World War II period applying ground geophysical methods on the locations pre-defined from the archival aerial images obtained by the Germans in 1944. Methods. The methodology for determining the locations of mass graves combines remote sensing (interpretation of aerial images) and ground non-destructive methods (geophysical techniques and metal detecting). Photogrammetric processing of archival aerial images from 1944 was divided into the following three stages: 1) transformation of the used materials to one coordinate system (in the case of archival aerial images transformation by preserved reference points was performed); 2) overlaying of the images from different dates to determine the true boundaries of graves; 3) preparation of the resulting maps. At the first stage archived aerial image and modern space images were georeferenced using Erdas Imagine software with errors up to 3 meters and stored in GeoTIF format. Then the interpretation of archival aerial images was performed and defined boundaries of mass graves were transferred on modern maps. The final stage was the generation of the resulting materials. Input data for the geophysical research was the data obtained by the photogrammetric method. During the field work the following studies were carried out: metal detecting of WWII artifacts, magnetic survey; electrical resistivity tomography (ERT); ground penetrating radar (GPR). As a result of studies a large number of artifacts from World War II were found and the boundaries of mass graves defined by photogrammetric method were confirmed and refined. Results. The places of mass executions and burials of the World War II were preliminarily determined based on the interpretation of archival aerial images obtained in 1944. Metal detecting revealed presence of gun cases from German weapon. These finds support the suggestion about mass executions on the territory. Ground geophysical studies confirmed the location of mass graves and improved georeferencing of other objects from old aerial images. Scientific novelty. The proposed methodology that combines photogrammetric and geophysical techniques for determination of mass graves of World War II time allows to locate them reliably and with reasonable accuracy on modern maps and on the ground. The practical significance. The obtained cartographic materials and research results should be used to study the historical events that took place on the territory. The applied complex technique allowed to confirm the fact of mass shootings and the presence of burials without destructive intervention to the soil layer, which is of great importance for representatives of the Jewish religious community. The results of this work are offered by the Department of Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Lviv Regional Council as addition to the Cultural Heritage Site Passport.

1. Ardekani, M. R.; Signal and Image Centre, Royal Military Academy, 30 Avenue de la Renaissance, 1000 Brussels, Belgium; Druyts, P. ; Lambot, S. ; De Coster, A. ; Neyt, X. (2014) Recovering the structure of a layered soil, including layer thickness and dielectric permittivity, using the interfaces and objects backscatter detected in GPR B-scans Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), 2014 15th International Conference on. Abstract book., pp. 397-400, doi: 10.1109/ICGPR.2014.6970454
2. Arnoud de Boer. Processing old maps and drawings to create virtual historic landscapes e-Perimetron, 2010, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 49–57.
3. Banton, O., M. K. Seguin, and M. A. Cimon. Mapping field-scale physical properties of soil with electrical resistivity. SoilSci. Soc. Am. J. 1997, 61, pp. 1010–1017.
4. Bartoněk D. Prediction model to identify the significant development periods of the historical objects. FIG Working Week 2012. May 6–10, 2012, Rome, Italy.
5. Binley, A. and A. Kemna, 2005, Electrical Methods, In: Hydrogeophysics by Rubin and Hubbard (Eds.), 129–156, Springer.
6. Blažková, T., Matoušek, V. Picture and Reality: Studies of the Modern Landscape in Vedute of Thirty Year´s War´s Battlefields of Bohemia. In: P. Szabó - R. Hédl (eds.), Human Nature. Studies in Historical Ecology and Environmental History, Brno, 2008, pp. 52–61.
7. Digital sourse. Available at:
8. Kashevskiy V. A. Pehotnoe oruzhie Vtoroy Mirovoy voynyi [Infantry weapons of World War II]. Minsk, OOO «Harvest», 2004.
9. Khomenko R., Bondar K., Popov S. Nova malohlybynna bahatoelektrodna ustanovka vymiryuvannya elektrychnoho oporu. [New Multifilament Multicellular Electric Resistance Measurement] Visnyk Kyyiv. un-tu. Heolohiya. 2013, issue 2(61), pp. 36–40.
10. Matoušek, V. Die Höhlenbesiedlung des Böhmischen Karstes vom Neolithicum bis zum Mitteralter, FAP 20, 1994.
11. Pozdnyakov, A. I., Pozdnyakova L. A. And A. D. Pozdnyakova. Stationary electrical fields in soils. (In Russian.) KMK Scientific Press, Moscow, 1996.
12. Remondino, F. Image-based modeling for object and human reconstruction. Ph.D. Thesis, ETH No 16562, Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Mitteilungen, 2006, no. 91. ISBN 3-906467-61-9, 174 p.
13. Shaulskiy E. V., Lebardin A. G., Berdnik P. V., Guzdup V. A. Kleyma na patronah i oruzhii. Spravochnoe posobie dlya ekspertov-kriminalistov [Hallmarks on chucks and weapons. A guidebook for criminal experts.]. Mozhaysk, 1997.
14. Wilding, L. P., Smeck N. E. and G. F. Hall (ed.). Pedogenesis and soil taxonomy. I. Concepts and interactions. Developments in Soil Science, 11A.Elsevier. Amsterdan, Oxford, New York, 1983.