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3DVisA Index of 3D Projects: Architectural and Urban Studies

Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project

(Version: draft1)

Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae is closely related to the Michelangelo Project. Both projects were led by researchers from Stanford University, California. Stanford Digital Forma Urbis Romae is 3D visualisation of the ancient map of Rome, carved in marble in the early 3rd century. The map, which originally measured c. 18x13m, has survived in 1,186 fragments; this represents no more than 15 per cent of the original.

During the academic year 1998-1999 a team of thirty university staff and students carried out fieldwork in Italy. Using a combination of the existing laser rangefinder technology and algorithms developed for this project by computer scientists at Stanford, they scanned thousands of objects, including all the fragments of the Forma Urbis Romae. Accurate 3D scans of artifacts were produced. The scans were subsequently used to create three-dimensional models.

The models supported, among other applications, the restoration of the statue of David, allowing the monitoring of various the level of damage

Detailed information about the project and its outcomes is available at the project's website. See the list of sources below.

Project dates: 1997-2004

Resource status: An archive of 3D models is available at the project's website (a license is required from Stanford University). The Forma Urbis Romae archive is also available online.

Contributors: Project directors at Stanford, Professors Marc Levoy and Jennifer Trimble. Modelling by Natasha Gelfand, David Koller and Marc Levoy of the Stanford Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; and by Henrik Wann Jensen. The project has been supported in part by National Science Foundation contract IIS-0113427 and the Max Planck Center for Visual Computing and Communication. Professor Eugenio La Rocca, Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali del Comune di Roma. Full credits.

Sources and further details:

The Michelangelo Project website at the University of Stanford, California (in English and Italian).

The Forma Urbis Romae archive.

S. Bracci, F., Falletti, M. Matteini and R. Scopigno, eds, Exploring David: Diagnostic Tests and State of Conservation, Giunti Press, 2004

Koller, D. and Levoy, M., (2005), 'Protecting 3D Graphics Content', Communications of the ACH, Vol. 48, No. 6, (June), A PDF) version available.


Koller, D., Turitzin, M. Levoy, M., Tarini, M., Croccia, G.,Cignoni, P. and Scopigno, R. (2004), 'Protected Interactive 3D Graphics Via Remote Rendering', Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2004.

Record compiled by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel. Last updated: 11 September 2006.

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