Exploring Old Rome Without Air (or Time) Travel
New York Times (11/13/08) P. C11; Povoledo, Elisabetta
Google Earth’s Ancient Rome 3D is a simulation of Rome circa 320 A.D. that can be explored in three dimensions. It consists of about 7,000 buildings reconstructed through the efforts of Bernard Frischer, director of the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.
The project involved the collaboration of Google Earth, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and Past Perfect Productions, a company whose specialty is 3D cultural heritage models. The simulation was initially based on Frischer’s Rome Reborn 1.0 project, which was fine-tuned over the years as technology improved. Experiencing Ancient Rome 3D requires users to install the Google Earth software at earth.google.com and then access the simulation from the Gallery folder.
The mayor of Rome said at a Nov. 12 news conference that Ancient Rome 3D could satisfy tourists who are disappointed to find the city’s ancient structures in a state of decay, which “may not be enough to involve the tourist in the experience of Roman civilization.” Frischer says that he hopes Ancient Rome 3D will be an ongoing scholarly work that is updated as new knowledge is contributed.