About Us

Flyover Zone

See cultural heritage sites and monuments all over the world from the comfort of your home or classroom. Our company is a pioneer in the new industry of virtual tourism, or what we call “teletourism.” We create digital applications offering students and the general public tours of cultural heritage sites. Take one of our teletours™ on your own, exploring the stops on the site wherever your curiosity leads you. Along the way, you can pause and listen to experts explain what you are seeing. 

Our products fall into three categories:

  • Reborns concentrate on time travel taking you back in time to see ancient places as they originally looked. This virtual time travel is possible because our talented graphic artists work with subject experts to make digital recreations of the sites and monuments of the past. 
         Available now: Rome Reborn®.  For more about this line of teletours, including its history stretching back to the 1990s, click here. We express our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to creating Rome Reborn when it started as an academic project owned by the Regents of the University of California under development in the period 1996 to 2007. For details, click here.  To avoid any confusion, we note that all the 3D models used to illustrate Rome Reborn’s teletours were created from 2008 to 2019 by our company, which holds the copyright. They are different from the Rome models owned by the University of California. 
         Coming soon:  Athens Reborn™, Baalbek Reborn™, Egypt Reborn™, and Hadrian’s Villa Reborn™.
  • Great Monuments™ present cultural heritage sites that are well preserved, so they do not need to be reconstructed digitally.
           Coming soon: Casino dell’Aurora in Rome.
  • Historical Games™ allow you to play the role of ancients such as gladiators and chariot racers. First, we give you training in the rules of the competition and in the use of the equipment. Then, you can apply your training and try to rise from novice to expert level.
         Coming soon: Chariot Racing!

Our products are easy to use. Each begins with a tutorial that takes under one minute. Once you’ve finished the tutorial, you can use what you’ve learned in all our products. They all have the same interface. They run on cell phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and VR headsets. Whichever device you use, the tour is the same.  If you are sharing your experience with another user, that user can see what you are seeing and talk back and forth with you even if you are both using different devices.

All our products are available in English, and some also offer other languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, and Italian. 

For details about the teletours currently available and those soon to be published, see our Products page.   

Meet Our Team Leaders

Bernard Frischer

Founder

Bernard Frischer is a digital archaeologist who writes about virtual heritage, Classics, and the survival of the Classical world. He has been a professor at UCLA (1976-2004), the University of Virginia (2004-2013) and Indiana University (since 2013).

From 1996 to 2004 he was founding director of the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory. The lab was one of the first in the world to use 3D computer modeling to reconstruct cultural heritage sites. In 2008, he founded the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, which was at first based at the University of Virginia and then in 2013 moved to Indiana University, where it is still active today.

Nathanael Tavares

CEO

Nathanael Tavares is a computer scientist who worked at the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology, housed in the distinguished Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, developing several virtual reality experiences before going on to work with a new cutting-edge sports replay technology, Intel® True View, for 3 years.

He joined Flyover Zone in 2016 as a software developer and was named our CEO in 2018. A graduate of Indiana University, he is a native of Bloomington, Indiana. 

Mohamed Abdelaziz

Art Director

Mohamed Abdelaziz is an archaeologist and graphic artist. Born and educated in Alexandria, Egypt, he has degrees in Archaeology. He has worked as an archaeologist and digital artist for the Ministry of Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities, the Centre d’etudes Alexandrines, Indiana University, and Harvard University. Since 2019 he has served as Art Director of Flyover Zone.

Lasha Tskhondia

Director of 3D Modeling

Lasha Tskhondia is a professional sculptor and 3D modeler. Born and educated in Tbilisi, Georgia, he started his career as a sculptor of miniatures. From 1998 to 2016 he collaborated with American companies making small sculptural models of extinct animals, paleontological and anthropological scale replicas of skulls, as well as military miniatures. He has long been fascinated by the history and architecture of ancient Rome. After making models of Roman buildings for ten years as a hobby, he joined the Flyover Zone team in 2016 and was recently named our Director of 3D Modeling.

What Our Teletourists Have to Say

Our company is a pioneer in the new industry of teletourism.

First, there was teleconferencing, then telecommuting and telemedicine, now Flyover Zone brings you virtual tourism, or what we call “teletourism.”

Teletourism makes it possible to see the great cultural heritage sites of the world from the comfort of your living room or classroom. Arguably, you can learn and see more on a teletour than is possible on a real tour of places like Rome. Flyover Zone not only takes you to the site as it appears today but also turns back the clock to show you the way it looked hundreds or thousands of years ago. We take you into the air to get a bird’s eye view and put what you are visiting into a broader geographical context. We take you to places on the ground and underground that are not open to the public.

All along the way, you can listen to expert explanations of what you are seeing. If you miss something, you can rewind the audio and listen again. 

Of course, a teletour is not just an affordable alternative to a real tour. A teletour can also prepare you for a trip so you get the most out of it once you arrive at your destination. And it can deepen your understanding of what you have seen after you return home.

Finally, we–who are intrepid travelers–would be the last  people to urge you to stay home and not go to great tourist destinations like Athens, Karnak, and Rome. Telemedicine hasn’t made office visits to your doctor obsolete. Similarly,  teletours and real tours have useful and complementary roles to play in today’s world.

For more about the role  of teletourism during and after the coronavirus pandemic, click here to watch a talk by Flyover Zone Founder and President Bernard Frischer.

Bernard Frischer

FOUNDER

Bernard Frischer is a digital archaeologist who writes about virtual heritage, Classics, and the survival of the Classical world. He has been a professor at UCLA (1976-2004), the University of Virginia (2004-2013) and Indiana University (since 2013).

From 1996 to 2004 he was founding director of the UCLA Cultural Virtual Reality Laboratory. The lab was one of the first in the world to use 3D computer modeling to reconstruct cultural heritage sites. In 2008, he founded the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, which was at first based at the University of Virginia and then in 2013 moved to Indiana University, where it is still active today.

Through his labs and with the help of many technical and scholarly collaborators, Frischer has overseen many 3D modeling projects, including “Rome Reborn,” the digital recreation of the entire city of ancient Rome within the Aurelian Walls, the “Digital Hadrian’s Villa Project,” and the “Uffizi-Indiana University 3D Digitization Project.” A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the winner of the Prix de Rome, in 2005 he was given the Pioneer Award of the International Society on Virtual Systems and Multimedia. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Tartessus Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology

In 2016, Frischer founded Flyover Zone in order to take virtual heritage from the university laboratory to a larger international public.