Fri 14 Nov, 2008 01:22 pm
Ancient Rome goes virtual
Google Earth rolls out 3-D simulation of A.D. 320
By ARIEL DAVID Associated Press
ROME " Obviously, there were no satellites to snap pictures of Rome two millennia ago. But that hasn't kept Web surfers from getting a bird's-eye view of the ancient city.
Google Earth has added to its software a 3-D simulation that painstakingly reconstructs nearly 7,000 buildings of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum, the Forum and the Circus Maximus, officials said Wednesday.
The program, which gives users access to maps and global satellite imagery, now hosts a new layer that allows surfers to see how Rome might have looked in A.D. 320, a bustling city of about 1 million people under Emperor Constantine.
Pop-up windows provide information on the monuments and visitors also can enter some of the most important sites, including the Senate and the Colosseum, to observe the architecture and marble decorations, Google Italia and the city of Rome said in a joint statement.
Google Earth's Ancient Rome 3-D, which was unveiled Wednesday at a news conference in city hall, is based on a simulation created by an international team led by the University of Virginia and the University of California.
Using laser scans of today's ruined monuments and advice from archaeologists, experts worked for about a decade to reconstruct ancient Rome within its 13-mile-long walls, said Bernard Frischer, who heads Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.
The simulation, completed in 2007, was intended as a tool to study the ancient buildings and run experiments on them " for example to determine their crowd capacity.
Frischer said the work's publication on the Internet means it can be used for broader educational purposes.
Google is offering prizes to U.S. teachers for the best curriculum using the new tool, and Frischer said his team is already working on a reconstruction of colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
I tried it yesterday. Seems (when you follow google's technical advice) that you should better have a "hardcore game pc".
I just saw some cardboard boxes, not the 5,000 buildings.
Must be my graphic card: engineering from 2006.
Interesting article, Edgar.