Google Earth reconstructs
ancient Rome in 3D
Nov 13 (IANS) Google Earth has launched a 3D reconstruction
of ancient Rome as it may have been in 320 AD.
virtual traveller can now see every building as it stood in
Rome at that time. In reality, just 300 buildings of classical
Rome have survived, in most cases in ruins.
3D model is visible on the website as a layer. The layer floats
a few metres above the satellite image of present-day Rome
so that users can have a sense of locating where the ancient
structures once stood.
to the Google Earth blog, the 3D models are actually based
on a physical model of the city called the "Plastico
di Roma Antica" - created by archaeologists and model-makers
from 1933 to 1974 and housed in a special gallery in the Museum
of Roman Civilisation in Rome.
extra feature in the 3D city is that 11 buildings have viewable
interiors. These include: Basilica of Maxentius, Colosseum,
Forum of Julius Caesar, Ludus Magnus, Temple of Venus and
Rome, Temple of Vesta, Regia, Basilica Iulia, Basilica Aemelia,
Curia Iulia, Tabularium.
Guardian reports: "They (users) can float through the
Forum, past the platform or "rostra" from which
Cicero once declaimed, admire the statues, read the inscriptions,
pry into palaces, and then slip round to the Colosseum or
whisk over to the Circus Maximus where the ancient Romans
held their chariot races."
Earth's chief technologist, Michael T. Jones, said: "It
is the "Rome of [the emperor] Constantine in which everything
is new. It's new. It's modern. It's beautiful."
first concerted effort to "recreate" ancient Rome
was made by an Italian architect, Italo Gismondi. Three years
before his death in 1974, he finished a vast, plaster model
of ancient Rome in 1:250 scale that can be seen in the city's
Museo della Civilta Romana, the museum of Roman civilisation.
research played an important role in the digital project,
which was begun in 1997 by a teacher at the University of
Virginia, Bernard Frischer. After 10 years of work and collaboration
with the Milan Polytechnic, "Rome Reborn" - made
up of 50 metres of polygons (the building blocks of three-dimensional
computer graphics) - was unveiled last year.
job of transferring it to the web was shared between Google's
3D unit and a Rome-based firm, Past Perfect Productions, run
by a Briton, Joel Myers.
why 320 AD was chosen as the period for reconstruction, he
said: "Because it was Rome at its moment of greatest
splendour as far as its architecture is concerned. If you
went back to periods of more historical interest, like Julius
Caesar's, you would not have the Colosseum, for example."