Interactive Visualisation of Historic Nicosia

Overview

Project duration: 2016 - 2022 Date coverage: 1100 - 1870 Website

The current version of the virtual platform was created in Unity and includes (undivided) all important monuments of the historic city of Nicosia (33 in number), the last divided capital in Europe, spanning a period of 9 centuries, being accessible/visualised as in a time machine, by century and with textual and visual metadata linked. This work was done with support from the A.G. Leventis Foundation and is featured in the Municipal Museum of the city, while was recently presented at the Museum Big Data conference (http://museumbigdata.org/).

This interactive platform relies on a large volume of 3D spatial data, generated through a semi-supervised photogrammetric documentation pipeline, and an accurate digital terrain model of the city, based on data provided by the Land Survey Department of the country. These spatial data are enriched with 2D and textual historical information. The processes of creating the platform involved 3D data collection, processing, optimisation data storage and management. With our interdisciplinary team of collaborators (incl. historians, architects, archaeologists, artists, computer scientists, 3D documentation experts, land surveyors and engineers- experts in BIM and GIS) we intend to continue developing this platform, further expanding its rich dataset to include historical buildings of 19th c. and examples of colonial architecture.

Currently, the interactive platform hosts datasets of 33 monuments, including the city Cathedral, numerous churches, mosques, public baths, the medieval Gates, libraries, schools, public markets, city infrastructure, such as aqueducts, as well as prominent townhouses and mansions.

Both the fortification walls of the city and the monuments of the inner city are visualised through the 3D reconstruction of the morphology, structural condition and materiality in which they are found today through centuries of adaptation, maintenance, conservation, building additions or removals, and even change of use. These 3D visualisations of the monuments are supported by scholarly data and other information offered, e.g., old photographs, drawings and texts. The interactive platform visualises the monuments in their current configuration and condition in order to facilitate the engagement and association of the visitors with the history of the city, by aiming to allowing them recognize the monuments optically. This applies to both the inhabitants of the city, who may be familiar with some of the monuments and are visiting the Museum, as well as, tourists who will explore the physical space of the city after being introduced to these monuments through the platform at the exhibition.

All spatial and construction material 3D data of the monuments were captured using photogrammetric techniques (Agisoft Metashape and Reality Capture)  and advanced data post processing workflows, including 3D modelling and texturing, data optimization in Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Zbrush, Blender. The interactive platform was created using real time rendering engine software (Unity3D), in order to produce the designed interactive visualisation environment.

Project partners

Lead partners

Associated partners

other partners

  • Leventis Municipal Museum
  • Technical Chamber of Cyprus
  • Cyprus Architects Association
  • Town Planning & Housing Department
  • Municipality of Strovolos

With financial support by