Why not recent Rome? Searching the 4th dimension

Last week the BBC reported on a new addition to Google Earth: the ability to explore ancient Rome.

The 3D models and virtual tours of the Rome of 2,000 years ago were created by Past Perfect Productions. I hope they move on to creating more environments for people to explore. Once there is is a market for this, standard ways of modeling and showing the past, things will get very interesting.

It might be that we will be able to explore any place on Earth at any point in history.

My home page from 10 years ago stored at archive.org

My home page from 10 years ago stored at archive.org

Today Google software continually explores the web and catalogues text and image content for search purposes. The search page lets millions of people all over the world the explore the current representation of the world on the web.

One day similar software will use XML-tagged information to build a model of the Earth at any point in the past. Combining all pictures, words, models, sounds used to represent the past will mean that we’ll be able to search based on the world as it was 2,000 years, 100 years or ten weeks ago.

Imagine looking at the world the day you were born. You could look at your favourite websites filled with the news as it was back then. Once architect and municipal plans are combined in the model with photos taken in the weeks before your birth day, you’ll be able to walk down the street you were born. Or the street where you live today as it was back then.

Witness the model of the world as it was thirty years ago become clearer as governments and organisations release documents kept secret up until now. Once you combine accounts, memos and all the documents kept in world archives, the model will become more accurate.

If you could go to any place and time, where would you go first?

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