Google Earth Leads To Ancient Rome - InformationWeek
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Google Earth Leads To Ancient Rome

Visitors can embark on a virtual 3-D tour of the Eternal City's monuments, streets, and buildings as scholars believe they appeared in 320 A.D.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, on Wednesday invited the hoi polloi to visit Rome in Google 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, and an engraved Google "Top Educator" plaque.

Below is a video demonstration produced by Google:

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