Design and creation of a 3D virtual tour of the World Heritage Site of Petra, Jordan


Aerial and Terrestrial Laser Scanning

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Stephen Wessels, Zamani Project UCT, South Africa,
Heinz Ruther, Zamani Project UCT, South Africa,
Roshan Bhurtha, Zamani Project UCT, South Africa,
Ralph Schroeder, Zamani Project UCT, South Africa,


The spatial documentation of cultural heritage sites using the technologies of laser scanning, aerial and close range photogrammetry, 360 degree panorama photography and conventional surveying methods has been well established as a means of digitally recording sites for conservation, restoration, site management, education and tourism purposes.

Currently the field of Virtual Heritage is trying to address the gap between the spatial data produced of heritage sites and the use of the data by interested parties. The reason for this gap is because data viewing platforms have not been adequately designed to allow the general user to view combinations of 3D spatial data in an easy manner and in a compelling and engaging 3D environment. This paper describes the undertaking to assimilate spatial data into one seamless virtual tour, where a “virtual visitor” is able to view a wide variety of spatial data in a single interactive environment.

The paper is based on the experiences of creating a 3D Virtual Tour of the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra using data the Zamani Project at the Geomatics Division, of the University of Cape Town, has generated in partnership with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities (DOA), ISPRA (The Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) and UNESCO under the framework of the Petra Siq Stability project.

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