Researchers from the Cyprus Institute have completed a full digitisation of the former Nicosia International Airport, which has been inactive since 1974 as it is located in the UN buffer zone.
The project was conducted by researchers from the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Centre (STARC) and the Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre (CARE-C), with the support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).
The NIC Project (named after the airport’s IATA code) focuses on an interdisciplinary 3D modelling and visualisation process developed to create interactive applications for virtual tours, since access to the airport terminal building is nowadays deemed unsafe due to years of abandonment and lack of maintenance.
In the initial phase of the project, the internal and external structures of the main terminal were mapped out digitally through terrestrial laser scanning by the Andreas Pittas Art Characterisation Laboratories (APAC Labs) of The Cyprus Institute.
For the digitisation of the tarmac, the two intersecting runways and the building rooftops a special photogrammetric drone survey that allows for the creation of 3D models out of 2D images, was realised by the institute’s Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory (USRL) team under the direct supervision of UNFICYP personnel.
The aerial survey was performed using the novel fixed wing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) developed by USRL optimised for aerial image acquisition of large areas.
At the same time, a panoramic imaging campaign was performed in all accessible areas of the main terminal, the control tower, hangar and three planes sitting in the airport premises.
These materials will be used to create a virtual tour, freely accessible through a dedicated webpage.
All data collected will be processed by The Cyprus Institute Virtual Environments Lab, to create an immersive experience of visiting the inaccessible spaces of the terminal remotely.
But the aim of this project goes further than simply capturing the physical structure of the building, as it also aims to recapture the spirit of the airport terminal, which is an iconic building for both communities on the island.
To this end, The Cyprus Institute project team invites individuals who worked in the airport to get in contact via email at: [email protected], with the main aim of recording audio/video material to be included in the storytelling platform.