The Virtual Tour of the Acropolis monuments consists of high-resolution gigapixel images and panoramas of the most prominent monuments - the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike - as well as detailed photographic displays of selected views from the outer surface of the ancient walls surrounding the hill. Each view is complemented with descriptive information about the monuments and selected areas of interest.
An orthophoto map of the site’s area facilitates orientation and navigation of the visitor to each viewpoint. The images allow detailed zooming onto the architectural features of the monuments, which are otherwise difficult to experience during an onsite visit. Visitors can comprehend the location of the monuments in relation to its surroundings or even to realize a virtual "walk" through the site by selecting at will their own successive viewpoints.
The application is an initiative of the Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA) and comprises an upgrade from a previous version with a focus on extending the app’s functionality to both stationary and portable devices. The decision to adopt "state of the art" technological solutions to "bring online" the entirety of the archaeological site is not merely a statement for the preservation work undertaken by the institution, but also a great contribution to the institution's mission to promote access to cultural heritage. Enhanced visual access may be used as a starting point for interested parties and potential visitors to get to know the monuments, but also as a scientific or educational tool to enable research in various disciplines.
The application has been created through the collaboration of the Documentation Office of YSMA with Culturplay that specializes in the provision of digital media solutions and interarctive tools for the cultural heritage domain.
The following people worked for this application:
YSMA - Project supervision, Content management: E. Lempidaki, I. Alexopoulos, M. Katsianis, K. Koutsadelis, D. Mavromati, E.Petropoulou
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The production of panoramic photomosaics at resolutions of several gigapixels was realised between 2010 and 2014 by employing established practices of digital image acquisition and processing.
In order to achieve the best possible mapping of natural lighting on the monuments together with the display of shaded details, High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging techniques were used for capturing and combining different exposure levels of the same theme.
Starting from the RAW photos all the way up to the combined and color-corrected finalised panoramas, all intermediate outputs were maintained in order to be able to reproduce and control the entire manufacturing process for future reference.
The krpano viewer and revelant tools are used for the display of the panoramic images within the application. Techniques to minimize the optical deformation of the monuments were applied during the construction of the photomosaics and are also used for their rendering within the application.
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Particular emphasis was also placed on the typographic formatting of all textual information included, especially with respect to its effective adaptation to different screen sizes. Moreover, a series of interface controls were developed to facilitate user navigation tasks on touch screens.
The contents of the application are stored in a Content Delivery Network that significantly accelerates data serving to end-users.