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P. Merchán1, M.J. Merchán2, S. Salamanca1, A. Adán3

1Universidad de Extremadura (SPAIN)
2Universidad Pablo de Olavide (SPAIN)
3Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
Technology can help make the history and social studies classroom a site of active learning and critical thinking and further student connections with the past. Teachers can use technology to enable students to meet people of different cultures, explore ancient and modern worlds, do authentic primary-source research, problem-solve through inquiry-based activities, and much more. For instance, technology opens the possibility of wandering around famous landmarks and buildings.

“Field trips are excellent ways to immerse students in historical evidence by visiting museums, historical sites… Field trips are also expensive, complicated to organize, and draw students away from their other class responsibilities. Fortunately, if you cannot visit an important site in person, you can often visit the site virtually on the Web. While some online virtual tours consist of static two-dimensional images and text, others contain engaging three-dimensional animations and simulations, panoramic video, and more… “, excerpt from Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide for Teachers, by Teachers, by Justin Reich and Thomas Daccord, published by M. E. Sharpe.
Virtual Tours are excellent vehicles for bringing primary source materials into the classroom, and museums and historical sites are adding more virtual tours to their Web sites.

In this paper we show the work that must be carried out to generate accurate, dense and coloured 3D models of large outdoor ancient scenarios from scanners. This is a challenging research field in which several problems still remain unsolved. Particularly, the 3D model creation process in outdoor scenes might be inefficient if the scene is digitalized under unsuitable technical (optics and camera imposed by the scanner) and environmental (rain, dampness, changing illumination) conditions. We concentrate our research on integrating high quality images onto geometric models and developing texture fusion algorithms to produce photorealistic renderings. Our proposal is based on decoupling the colour integration and geometry reconstruction stages, making them independent and controlled processes. We present the work conducted in two large Roman archaeological sites dating from the first century A.D., i.e., the Theatre of Segobriga and the Fori Porticus of Augusta Emerita, both in Spain. The good results obtained and the simplicity of the approach led us to think that this method could be useful in the digitalization and 3D modelling fields. It lets the students immerse in the archaeological sites as they are in the present days and know either the perfection or the imperfection of the Roman materials and way of building or the validity of surveyors’ and architects’ assumptions when planning a city map, since what one has with this type of technology is not a virtual recreation but an exact replica of the existing rests placed in their actual geographical position. Likewise, videos that simulate a walk through corridors and porticos inside the buildings or routes along the ancient Roman city can be easily generated. This way, it is possible to feel the experience of walking the sites as if they were physically travelled.