Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM), 2012 18th International Conference, Page(s):331 - 337. DOI: 10.1109/VSMM.2012.6365942

E-ISBN :978-1-4673-2563-9;Print ISBN:978-1-4673-2564-6


Copyright (c) 2012 IEEE. Used by permission.


This paper explores the potential of using Microsoft's Kinect to create a low-cost and portable system to virtually navigate, through a prototype 3D GIS, the digitally reconstructed ancient Maya city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Copan in Honduras. The 3D GIS, named QueryArch3D, was developed as part of the MayaArch3D project (, which explores the possibilities of integrating databases and 3D digital tools for research and teaching on ancient architectures and landscapes. The developed system, based on the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST), controls in a remote and touchless mode the movements in the 3D environment in order to create a sense of spatial awareness and embodiment. A user can thus use gestures to interact with information stored in the spatial database, calling up photos, videos, textual descriptions as he/she moves through the virtual space of the ancient Maya city.