Alexandrino Gonçalves 1,2 / Fernando Silva1 / António José Mendes2

(1Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão do Instituto Politécnico de Leiria, Portugal / 2Centro de Informática e Sistemas da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal)

The use of technologies in the preservation and dissemination of the Humanity historical and cultural heritage has become an increasing reality. However, access to some of these projects, namely those involving the use of Virtual Reality techniques, is often rather restricted and limited due to technical specificities used in its development and/or visualization. Availability to the general public, for instance through the Internet, becomes, then, impracticable. VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) emerged from the desire to project World Wide Web to a new level, the three-dimensional level. However, even though there are not many alternatives, VRML is not used often. In fact, the number of projects available that use this language is lower than expected. Why? Generally the development of realistic VRML environments results in a set of big files that difficult its download. The complex calculations often necessary to display the virtual environment also create difficulties, since they demand too much for low end computers. This paper intends to present some VRML optimization techniques that allow the creation of a very low file size and a realistic historical environment that can be accessed from any current personal computer. As a result, you can make your own historical tour at: