Thursday, November 13, 2008

Entering the 4th Dimension - by Google

In the past months I've blogged quite a few times about the use virtual worlds in visualising and understanding history. One of these examples was IBM's recreation of the Forbidden City in China and I also blogged how cool it would be to walk more of these Ancient Sites.

One of the things I wrote when speaking of these ancient sites was;

"From about the day I signed on to Ancient Sites I've had the believe that this had the potential to change our Educational system in the way which students could globally interact, learn languages, geography, history, art and you name it."

There are many ancient sites I would like to visit. In real life I have walked across the ruins of Olympia, of Mycaena and Sparta but one place I like in particular is ancient Rome. Currently I act as a Gladiator in the online game Gladiatus (by the way, I changed my handle from VeeJay to Verritus in this game) so Iam pretty excited of yet another Google thingy. Although I got pretty negative on Google yesterday in their quest for world dominance, this is a cool thing as they bring the 4th Dimension into Google Earth. Here's the full story from Thomas Clayburn at Information Week.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, on Wednesday invited the hoi polloi to visit Rome in Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Earth.

Not modern Rome, but the Eternal City as scholars believe it was in 320 A.D., based on the Rome Reborn model constructed by the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities.

"What fascinates me most about this project is the accuracy of the details of the three-dimensional models," said Alemanno in a guest post on the Google blog. "It's such a great experience to be able to admire the monuments, streets, and buildings of Ancient Rome with a virtual camera that lets you go inside and see all the architectural details. From the Colosseum to the Ludus Magnus, from the Forum Caesar to the Arch of Septimius Severus, from the Rostra to the Basilica Julia, you can get up close to them all."

To view the new Ancient Rome 3-D layer in Google Earth, open the "Gallery" folder in the "Layers" panel and select "Ancient Rome 3-D."

This marks the first time an ancient city has been incorporated into Google Earth. "Going back in time presented some new challenges, such as how to handle the ancient terrain which was clearly different than modern day," explained Google Earth product manager Bruce Polderman in a blog post. "We needed to ensure that modern day imagery, terrain, and buildings didn't interfere with the ancient Rome model so we opted for a simple overlay."

In conjunction with the debut of the Ancient Rome 3-D layer, Google is sponsoring a curriculum competition for K-12 educators. Teachers interested in participating can sign up, waive assorted rights, and submit a lesson plan and supporting materials in the hope of being among the top six entries. Prizes include an Apple MacBook laptop, a digital classroom projector, a digital camera, a 3-D navigation mouse, $500 in gift cards to Target or Office Depot (NYSE: ODP), and an engraved Google "Top Educator" plaque.

Below is a video demonstration produced by Google:

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