Computer technology is quickly erasing the line between virtual and reality. You experienced it years ago on the beach in Star Wars, and just last week in Avatar. But those are only movies! One company actually puts you in the middle of the world’s most extraordinary places…and the 3D views are identical to being there in person as these amazing comparison photos show.
Siem Reap, Cambodia – If you’re lucky enough to travel to the jungles of Cambodia, the temple of Angkor Wat will take your breath away. Scientists are still speculating how an engineering feat of this magnitude was accomplished nearly 1,000 years ago. Then there’s the mystery of 1,780 angelic Khmer women portrayed in elaborate detail, dominating every level of the monument…
One company is using digital 3D technology to make Angkor Wat, and other extraordinary monuments around the world, as accessible as your home computer. Vizerra now offers virtual tours of Angkor Wat, Taj Mahal, Tatev Monastery and Old Town Square in Prague, with virtual visits to many other landmarks on the way.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about reality?
These images show Vizerra’s 3D reality next to digital photos of Angkor Wat. I took them with a Pentax K20D digital camera using a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 Aspherical Macro Lens (more appropriate for devata portraits). Naturally, perspective and depth of field will cause minor variations but the 3D renderings only few significant technical errors, noted below.
The point is that I captured the 3D images while “walking” around the virtual Angkor Wat that Vizerra built. The program has a handy image capture function built right in so you can save any view that you like. Vizerra plans to continue increasing their level of detail, interactivity and information for each world heritage site that they digitize.
Can an ice cold virtual Angkor beer at the concession stands be far behind?
View from the Top of Angkor Wat
To me, this was the most extraordinary proof of Vizerra’s quality. In November 2009, a temporary restoration scaffold gave me access to a view that only a handful of people have seen in the past millenneum…a view that even even the mighty King Suryarvarman II who built this masterpiece had probably never witnessed.
I was briefly allowed access to unveil DatAsia’s newest historical publication Angkor the Magnificent, but I also took the time to snap a few photos of the panoramic view, twenty stories above the jungle. Imagine my surprise when Vizerra effortlessly took me to that same location to duplicate the architectural accuracy of that same priceless view!
The three comparison photos below show how close Viezerra’s virtual reality has come to the real experience.
So the question is…would you like to experience Angkor Wat? You can be there in just a few minutes.
Article and photos © Copyright 2009 Kent Davis - High resolution images are available for republication by educational organizations at no charge.