First of all google sent a man on a bicycle around Stonehenge to capture the ancient site in virtual mode for Street View. Now it’s the archaeological site of Pompeii that’s online, allowing Internet users to take a 360-degree tour of the ancient Roman town destroyed by Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 AD.
The town’s statues, temples and theatres, as well as close-up views of individual houses and shops are all now visible on Street View, allowing armchair tourists – if that is you, did you try King Tut Virtual already? – to satisfy some of their curiosity about the site without falling prey to the hot Campanian summer days.
The Italian director of cultural heritage promotion, Mario Resca, was quoted by Ansa as saying “The opportunity to take a virtual stroll through the marvels of Pompeii, is a powerful way of promoting Italian tourism, as well as being a stimulus to many potential tourists to come in person to visit the two archaeological centres.
The new addition to google’s Street View was also noted on Blogging Pompeii, a blog site for people working at the site (many of them archaeologists).
One blogger noted that Street View might publicise the deteriorating condition of the ruins: From a conservation point of view it is now obvious to a larger number of the public how much the site has suffered despite recent efforts.
According to Digital Urban blogspot, google is also investigating city modelling techniques, which could create automated architectural landscapes for historical cities such as Rome and Pompeii. The CityEngine demo shows what Pompeii could have looked like before 79 AD.