Machu Picchu Is Digitized In A 3-D Map By An Archaeological Team From MIT


An archaeological team from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) documented digitally Machu Picchu. The main objective was to develop a 3-D site map using virtual reality and augmented reality.

The scientists have been working on the MISTI Global Seed Fund Machu Picchu Design Heritage project since 2016. Led by Professor Takehiko Nagakura and PhD student Paloma Gonzales, they have completed an extensive trip to Peru. The team visited the place on two occasions, in mid-2017 and early 2018.

For several weeks, they recorded with modern instruments the arquitecture and design. More than 9.000 photographs were taken to create the digital archive.

“We believe that documentation through computational techniques for the digitalization of architectural monuments is key to the preservation of the cultural heritage of humanity,” Nagakura said. “But it is just a simple idea of old practice. From Renaissance time, architects have been going to building sites, and drawing them up to study them. We are just replacing tape measures and Mylar sheets with scanning tools and VR headsets”.

Using the data recollected, they developed 3-D maps, and combined with virtual reality and augmented reality.

“We welcome all efforts to research and preserve Machu Picchu. We have to protect our heritage for the next generations”, added Fernando Astete, head of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu.

This project and past investigations made by the MIT group will be available online, and people can inmerse in the lost ruins of the Incas. The team hopes to continue working in Machu Picchu  in Machu Picchu and extend its work to other archaeological and historical places in Peru.

(Cover photo MISTI)

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