Professor Gabriele Guidi Visits from Milan

Prof. Gabriele Guidi
Department of Reverse Engineering
Politecnico di Milano

March 2007

Prof. Gabriele Guidi (Department of Reverse Engineering, Politecnico di Milano) visited IATH the week of March 12, 2007. Prof. Guidi is a leader in the application of 3D scanning technology to cultural heritage. From 2004 to 2007, he was the head of a team of engineers at the University of Florence and the Politecnico di Milano who were responsible for digitizing the "Plastico di Roma antica" for IATH's "Rome Reborn" project. "Rome Reborn" is an international project, launched in 1996 at UCLA and now based at IATH, to create a digital model of ancient Rome from the late Bronze Age to late antiquity. Later this spring, the first result of "Rome Reborn" will be released to the public: a model of how the city might have looked in the Age of Constantine (ca. 320 A.D.). The "Plastico di Roma Antica" is a physical model of Rome in this period that was created by archaeologists and model-makers from 1933 to 1974. One of the biggest urban models in existence (its scale is 1:250, and it is about 50' x 60' in size), it is housed in a special gallery in the Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome.

The project to digitize this monument was epic in scale. It required innovations during the phases of production and postproduction. In the end, Prof. Guidi's team succeeding in producing a usable scan model of the "Plastico" as well as something never before created: a "meta-model," or an abstract model of the digital model.

During his visit, Prof. Guidi talked about his work in digitizing the "Plastico" in a graduate seminar on Roman Topography (see photo). He also gave a public lecture on the topic (title: "Virtual Space Odyssey 2004") that was jointly sponsored by IATH, the Virginia Visualization Group, and the Department of Computer Science.