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The CyArk open-access digital archive of international archaeological sites

Through the CyArk website and the wonders of digital imaging, conservators, architects, and armchair archaeologists will be able to access detailed digital documentation of some of the world's most famous cultural sites. CyArk's mission is to preserve World Heritage Sites through collecting, archiving and presenting data created by laser scanning, digital modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies. The site today covers a dozen of projects around the world; the Pisa tower and the Statue of Liberty to be added next...
Visit the CyArk 3D Heritage website

HIGHLIGHTS

Conservators, architects, academics, and armchair archaeologists will be able to access detailed digital documentation of some of the world's most famous cultural sites via the Web.

The open-access www.cyark.org will initially include documentation of nine sites as diverse as the South Dakota gold rush town Deadwood; the ancient Khmer capital Angkor, in Cambodia; and Pompeii, in southern Italy. Foundation officials hope the archived material will be used for site management, restoration, and education.

The monuments, many of which have been designated World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, have been documented with a variety of techniques. The core technology is 3D laser scanning, which uses a tripod-mounted laser device to scan objects and produces a digital collection, or “cloud,” of points in three dimensions. This data can be reassembled to create other media, including detailed 3D models, dimensioned 2D drawings, and animations.

The foundation assists site authorities and academic institutions with planning and financing; helps locate professional surveyors with scanning equipment, who often donate their services; and provides software and training, says Ben Kacyra, KFF director and founder of Cyra Technologies, which was acquired by Leica Geosystems in 2001. (Cyra's 3D scanning technology is used to document many of the archived sites.) “Finally,” he says, “we are a repository for the information.”

Although only a handful of sites will initially be featured, KFF plans to expand CyArk quickly, not necessarily limiting it to projects documented through the foundation's involvement or to those using Cyra's technology, says Kacyra. “Our ambition is to help in 3D scanning, high-definition documentation, and archiving of the top 100 to 150 endangered heritage sites worldwide in the next five years.”

Additional information: Visit the CyArk 3D Heritage website
September 19, 2006
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