Wednesday, 12 November 2008

3D Rome on Google Earth and IBM’s virtual Forbidden City - virtual tourism!

The concept of virtual worlds tends to prompt thoughts of sites like World Of Warcraft or Second Life. However, as the internet evolves, ‘virtual’ is becoming more mainstream with increasing opportunities for internet users to experience real world places in 3D virtualness. Google have been adding buildings and cities to Google Earth and IBM have also been experimenting. Virtual worlds are now being used for educational purposes as well as gaming / leisure.

3D Rome layer in Google Earth

Google have created an Ancient Rome 3D layer for Google Earth, allowing users to experience virtual Rome (with 6,700 buildings) as it was 1,688 years ago.

Working with the Rome Reborn project in Virginia, Google Earth has embedded historical information into each 3D Rome virtual monument. Download the 3D Rome Google Earth layer here or read more on Google's Lat Long blog here

IBM’s Virtual Forbidden City

For over 3 years IBM developers have worked with curators from the Forbidden City Palace Museum to create a 3D virtual Forbidden City. The 3D virtual world recreates the Forbidden City as it was centuries ago, allowing users to take a tour based on historic events / stories, interact with a virtual guide and take part in activities like archery and cricket fighting.

The virtual Forbidden City is accessed by downloading a desktop client from

More details can be found in this video:


With the behind-the-scenes development story at Eightbar

3D Rome and the Virtual Forbidden city bring to life ancient monuments for the digital age, allowing in depth exploration without actually having to visit – with the IBM functionality particularly impressive. The opportunity for virtual tourism opens up historic sites to a wider audience and effectively illustrates the potential for virtual worlds to move beyond niche communities and really enter the mainstream.

Related posts
Euro 2008 3D stadiums added to Google Earth
Banksy virtual gallery in Second Life
Robot Sex Machine in Google’s Lively
IKEA Home Stuff - virtual furniture in Sims2

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1 comment:

The Guru said...

I liked this... I always wanted to "see" Rome in its ancient form but knew that I could not go back in its glorious past... But now with Google Earth, I am sure I can fulfil my long pending wish...