Google Earth brings ancient Rome to life - in 3D

Posted by Christian Zibreg

Mountain View (CA) – Google Earth remains one of the most impressive 3D applications available today. A new highlight for Earth is a layer visualizes ancient Rome as it is believed to have looked like in 320  A.D. It includes buildings that have withstood test of time, like the famous Coliseum, in addition to objects that no longer exist, as well as roads and terrain. Users can experience a breathtaking Rome in 360 degrees, fly though streets and even see the detailed interior of some buildings.



Forget those grainy images in history books and dull history classes and forget creating an imaginary picture from puzzle pieces such as drawings, old maps and literature. Google now offers a much more convenient, albeit also more passive way, way to learn about the ancient Roman culture, thanks to the new immersive 3D layer added to Google Earth. It is a massive project that includes thousands of structures created in collaboration between Google and the Rome Reborn Project. In fact, it appears to be good enough to have impressed Rome’s current mayor, who was fascinated with "the accuracy of the details."

The layer takes you back in time to the June 21, 320 A.D. That is 1688 years ago, when Rome was at the height of its power as the capital of the Roman Empire - and the world's largest city that was ruled by Emperor Constantine and home to more than one million people. The digital model includes over 6700 buildings provided as three-dimensional models that can be rotated in 360 degrees. Users can fly-by any object and place a virtual camera inside buildings to check architectural interior details of such sites as the Coliseum, Ludus Magnus, Forum Caesar, Arch of Septimius Severus, Rostra, Basilica Julia and more.

Buildings also carry historical information that is accessible by clicking on an object. Although some buildings can be still found in Rome, like the famous Coliseum, others were recreated based on historical records and our knowledge about the ancient Roman culture. To enable the Rome layer, open Google Earth and select "Ancient Rome 3D" in the Gallery layer on the left. When the application pulls the data off the Internet, simply locate Rome and you will see yellow 3D icons representing the buildings. To load the terrain and buildings, click on any icon and then click the links at the bottom of the bubble.

Google says the project demonstrates how "technology can be helpful in promoting culture and disseminating knowledge." You can find more details about the new Ancient Roman 3D layer in Google Earth here.