Online database lets users view and print 3-D fossils

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Professional and amateur archeologists will soon have a new custom online database worth noting, according to The Atlantic. While fossil exploration is a fun endeavor, there has been a lack of ability for those browsing the Internet to take a true, up-close look at such artifacts, as the website said qualities such as depth, contours and texture are not easily displayed via the user’s screen. However, the British Geological Service is addressing these needs, as they are launching a new online database containing thousands of images of fossils throughout a litany of British collections. There will also be 3-D models of many of these fossils which will allow users to rotate, enlarge and view the items on HTML5-enabled browsers.

For those who want to print and be able to hold something in their hands, the database also allows users to download the fossils as .ply and .obj files, according to the news source.

“Unless you happen to have access to the collection of the National Museum of Wales, you would have no other way to see that little guy, who lived some 426.2 to 428.2 million years ago,” The Atlantic said, speaking of a 3-D interactive trilobite. “So get digging.”

New Scientist said there has been a rise in quality and popularity in 3-D online databases, as it is a way to present artifacts such as these without damaging their physical integrity. Researchers and students can have many different museums items to look at while the items stay safe where they need to be without multiple people having to touch them or taking the risk of damaging them.