In past attacks, the militant group ‘Islamic State’ has destroyed many antiquities in Mosul in Northern Iraq. To counter this, The Economist and Rekrei collaborated to recreate a museum of lost artifacts, also known as ‘Project Mosul’. The museum explains why many of the lost artifacts and heritage sites are important.
Project Mosul was founded in March 2015. As a result ‘RecoVR Mosul: A collective reconstruction’ was created, which is already available on VR platforms. The used capturing technique is recognized as photogrammetry, a technique that involves combining multiple pictures from different viewpoints of an object, and as a consequence create a 3D model. In order to take full advantage of photogrammetry, images were crowdsourced and then used to reconstruct the lost artifacts and heritage sites. “Thousands of photographs have since been uploaded to the Project Mosul site by local people, tourists, and even American soldiers who were deployed to the area during the Iraq war” (The Economist, 2016).
The VR museum tour experience was created first for Samsung Gear VR headsets. Nevertheless, now it is available in Google Cardboard for Android, a YouTube 360 video and iOS app for use with a Cardboard adapter.
One can use any of the tools mentioned above to learn about the importance of the project as well as the artifacts that were destroyed. With this project, the importance of technology for the preservation of heritage sites was well demonstated. On top of preservation, it is also a great example of accessibility, a topic that we have covered in detail before. In addition to creating the VR experience, the project also used a 3D printer to recreate some of the items.