Ancient Olympia To Rise Again

Tuesday, 15 August, 2000

Ancient Olympia, 300 BC, will live again in 3-D stereo virtual reality at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum during the 2000 Olympic Games, thanks to University of Melbourne geomatics engineers.

The Melbourne team's multimedia reconstruction of the legendary Greek city's temples and sculptures has been commissioned by the Powerhouse Museum and is sponsored by Intel.

Visitors to the Olympia presentation can take a narrated guided tour through the site, where the perspective on the temples and statues will change as they walk past and around them in an immersive 3-D environment. A feature of the tour will be a detailed virtual reality model of the statue of Zeus from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Complementing the real and virtual elements of the Olympia exhibition will be online access for visitors to websites providing information on the people, history and archaeology of the city.

Recreating the 300 BC Grecian temples and statues demanded using actual materials to develop texture maps representing the way the materials would have appeared at the time. An effect that modern viewers may find unexpected is that many of the temples were painted. To achieve a high degree of accuracy in the final rendering of the buildings, they were inspected by the Greek Government.

Techniques used include field surveys, digital photogrammetry, laser scanning and conventional measurement to record the form and condition of cultural monuments. Processing and surface rendering required a mix of specially written routines and commercial software packages.

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