Virtual WalkAbout
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What is a Virtual Walkabout?

A Virtual Walkabout is a series of still images taken of an object that are digitised and arranged so that they appear on a computer screen in the same sequence and orientation as the objects do in real life.

For instance, a book contains useful bibliographic information on its front cover (the name of the book, its author), its spine (the publisher) and also on its back (a description of what it is about and who it is aimed at). If you were asked to take just one photograph of the book to convey as much useful information as possible, which view would you chose?

Archaeologists face a similar dilemma when they are recording objects, monuments or other archaeological remains. One image is usually not enough. For instance, you might want to know what the obverse side of a coin looks like, whether or not the design continues on the rear of a pot, or what the view looks like from the other side of a stone circle.

If we return to our analogy of the book, you might feel that to really capture all the bibliographic information you want, you need to take four or five photographs, perhaps even including the title page (year of publication etc.). The problem is: how to organize these images so that when you show them to someone else they make sense?

The Virtual Walkabout program is a way of sorting images so that they appear in the correct sequence. Just as you might sort your holiday snaps into chronological order (airport, arrival, hotel, view from the balcony, etc.), the VW program sorts the images of the book into a similar sequence that approximates real life. In the case of the book, it might be 'front', 'side', 'back' etc. It automatically creates a navigation panel that lets you direct your view, so if you wanted to go straight from the front cover to the back cover, skipping the side view, you could do this.

You can create a Virtual Walkabout of just about anything. But for the purposes of this tutorial we are going to assume you are creating a walkabout for an ancient monument.