Immersive technology is to be used to help explore and conserve UNESCO World Heritage sites for future generations.

The Dive into Heritage initiative was unveiled at a UNESCO forum in Saudi Arabia and will create unique ways to digitally experience World Heritage in the Arab States region.

Made possible through the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the online platform harnesses tech including 3D models, virtual reality, augmented reality, interactive maps and geolocated narratives to recreate a truly accurate and immersive digital viewing experience. 

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At the extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh this week, a side event on the Dive into Heritage initiative heard how Hegra – a Saudi archaeological site with elements which date back 2,000 years – is the first site to be documented, with others to follow.

Hegra, Saudi Arabia

Video animations of high-resolution 3D models were displayed, in addition to 3D-printed replicas that invited users to have a closer look at the digitisation process required to build the Dive into Heritage platform.

A full public release of the platform is planned by the end of Phase I in 2024.

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