You’ve got to see it to believe it.
It’s a new layer in Google Earth that takes you back to Rome in the day of emperor Constantine the Great. The day 21 June in the year AD 320, to be precise.
Now Google Earth’s 400 million estimated users are free to navigate the entire ancient city within the circuit of the 13-mile Aurelian Walls, peeking inside many buildings and monuments. It’s instantly been heralded as “the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created.”
And the person who has made Google’s new Ancient Rome 3D possible is Bernard D. Frischer of the University of Virginia—an American Academy in Rome Fellow (1976), Resident (1997), and current Trustee.
Frischer, the director of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, is a prominent Latinist who also is widely recognized as a pioneer in the application of digital technologies to humanities research and education.
“For nearly three decades”, writes Elisabetta Povoledo in The New York Times, “Professor Frischer has been the driving force of an effort to bring ancient Rome to virtual life. The Google Earth feature is based on his Rome Reborn 1.0, a 3-D reconstruction first developed in 1996 at the University of California, Los Angeles, and fine-tuned over the years with partners in the United States and Europe.”
Those partners were archaeologists, architects and computer experts from Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, and especially the Rome-based company Past Perfect Productions, which specializes in three-dimensional cultural heritage models. (more…)