November 13, 2008

Google Earth Recreates Ancient Rome Online

Google has a new, additional twist to offer consumers. Its innovative 3D map tool, Google Earth, is giving its users the opportunity to visit a virtual ancient Rome. Google has recreated the vast city that was populated by one million people since 320 AD.

Users can tour the map and sight see at the Forum of Julius Caesar, look around the Colosseum or fly around the Basilica. Researchers backing the venture note it compiles about five centuries of information in one site.

"This is another step in creating a virtual time machine," said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, which helped Google create the Roman restoration.

"The project is a continuation of five centuries of research by scholars, architects and artists since the Renaissance, who have attempted to restore the ruins of the ancient city with words, maps and images," he added.

Moreover, Past Perfect Productions is also involved in the innovative project, which rebuilds several archaeological and historical areas in a virtual world.

Joel Myers, the firm's chief executive, noted that, "Cultural heritage, although based in the past, lives in the present, as it forms our identity."

"It is therefore our responsibility to ensure its conservation, to nourish it and make it accessible, with the objective of promoting global understanding. Ancient Rome in 3D is a major step towards this goal," he added.

Ancient Rome is the first historical city to be recreated at the Google Earth site. Google's blog stated that the model has about 6,700 structures, and more than 250 place marks connecting key sites in an assortment of languages.

"Whether you are a student taking your first ancient history class, a historian who spends your life researching ancient civilizations, or just a history buff, access to this 3D model in Google Earth will help everyone learn more about ancient Rome," said Bruce Polderman, Google Earth 3D production manager.

The 3D models were created based on a physical replica of Rome called the Plastico di Roma Antica. The model was built by archaeologists between 1933 and 1974 and kept in an individual gallery in Rome's Museum of Roman Civilization.

The map was made public in the Italian capital, and the current Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, commended the project.

"It's an incredible opportunity to share the stunning greatness of ancient Rome, a perfect example of how the new technologies can be ideal allies of our history, archaeology and cultural identity," Alemanno said.

About 400 million people have added Google Earth to their computers since it was released in June 2005.


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