OziExplorer’s 2D and 3D geospatial visualisation packages help solve 3,000 year old mystery of ancient Ithaca, the island of Homer's Odysseus


The location of Greek hero Odysseus’ homeland - the island of Ithaca described in the poet Homer’s Odyssey - is a mystery that has baffled scholars for nearly 3,000 years.  Now this ancient enigma has been solved with the help of images from OziExplorer’s 2D and 3D geospatial visualisation packages, linked to high resolution satellite imagery, geological survey maps and GPS fieldwork coordinates.


The site of Homer’s Ithaca has been identified by Robert Bittlestone, Chairman of the UK management consultancy Metapraxis, whose quest was motivated by combining his company’s experience in the visualisation of complex data with a lifelong interest in Greece and the classics.  He has solved the problem with the help of James Diggle, Professor of Greek and Latin at Cambridge University, and John Underhill, Professor of Geology at Edinburgh University. 


Many people have thought that Homer’s island of Ithaca was fictitious, but that was also believed about Homer’s city of Troy until Schliemann found its real location in the 1870s after reading the Iliad and interpreting the clues that the poet provides.  This radical solution to the mystery of ancient Ithaca’s location was discovered by sifting through the Odyssey and following a similar detective trail of literary, scientific and archaeological clues.  The remarkable conclusion is that researchers over the centuries have been looking for ancient Ithaca in the wrong place.


Robert Bittlestone comments “We linked OziExplorer’s 2D mapping software to satellite imagery downloaded from Digital Globe’s ‘Quickbird’ satellite and also from Landsat-7 infra-red band photography.  This was then connected to waypoints and tracks captured by Garmin Etrex hand-held GPS receivers, enabling the project team to relate every feature on the ground to the satellite perspective.  By integrating this with high-resolution digital elevation model data we were then able to ‘lift’ these images off the ground using OziExplorer 3D.  The results represented a real breakthrough in landscape visualisation and have been incorporated directly into the book that tells the story of this adventure.”   


The location of ancient Ithaca will be announced on September 29 2005 and a further website update will be provided at that time.  The book describing the discovery will be published by Cambridge University Press in October with the title “Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca”.  Further details of the book can be found at www.cambridge.org/0521853575 and at www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521853575.


This announcement has been issued for OziExplorer by Mattison Public Relations +44 207 645 3636, info@mattison.co.uk.