21 October 2020 @ 4:00 pm

600 Million Points of Spatial Data makes a Green Metropolis

Updates on an Immersive Map of Medieval Angkor

Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over 400 km2, the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia contains the remains of five centuries of successive urban centres.

This presentation will overview research into a large-scale virtual reconstruction of the capital of the Khmer Empire in 1300. This is an especially interesting time in Angkor’s history. While eyewitness reports from Chinese dignitaries only three years prior describe a bustling and wealthy city, new geoarchaeological research suggests that a protracted demographic decline set in soon after. It was the beginning of the end for Angkor. Climatic events in the mid-1300s to the early 1400s hastened the breakdown of its hydraulic network, and by 1500, except for Angkor Wat and a smattering of villages, the city had been abandoned to the forests.

Much remains an enigma about this city, and we must necessarily draw upon a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Our foundation is the GIS datasets and airborne LIDAR surveys of Greater Angkor, but there are also other sources, including ethnomusicology, historical accounts, archival photography, and most importantly, the inscriptions that the people of Angkor wrote themselves.

This presentation will explore the technologies we have used to translate maps of a modern-day ruin into a living, operational metropolis, replete with glittering temples, dense wooden settlements, and a fully animated populace.

This SensiLab Forum was held on 21st October 2020.

Dr Tom Chandler is a researcher whose work explores the interdisciplinary application of 3D modelling and virtual world building.

He coordinates a number of SensiLab projects ranging from archaeology, anthropology and biology through to industrial design and neuroscience. He is also a senior lecturer within the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT), where he teaches 3D modelling and animation and leads FIT’s interactive media major.

Mike Yeates is a programmer and designer with a particular interest in lighting, visual effects, and cinematography in games and interactive real-time media.

Mike is a research assistant for SensiLab, where he specialises in the visualisation of historical environments and the development of interactive environments for conceptual, pedagogical and experimental projects. He is also a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of IT.