US: From the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the crumbling Mayan step-pyramids at Tikal, some of the most precious heritage sites around the globe are at risk from forces of nature and humans. But now scientists are using advanced 3D scanning technology to digitally document much-loved landmarks in a bid to preserve them on computers for generations to come.
CyArk, a non-profit organisation intends to preserve 500 cultural sites digitally over the next five years and build a 3D-digital library of the world”s most important monuments.
“Our mission is to create a 3D-digital library of the world’s most important heritage sites,” said Ben Kacyra, co-founder of CyArk along with his wife Barbara. “While there isn’t enough time or money to save all these sites physically, we have the technology to digitally preserve them. By doing so, we will ensure that these treasures are available for appreciation and study for years to come. It’s not an option; it’s our responsibility. Otherwise, we will lose our shared history and an important piece of our cultural identity.”
CyArk utilizes 3D-laser scanning and other reality-capture technologies to create digital models of the sites accurate to within 2-6mm. From that data, CyArk develops tools to aid conservators in the management and preservation of the location. Additionally, the organisation produces educational materials, virtual tourism opportunities, as well as digital renderings that are available to the public at www.cyark.org.