Online library launches to digitally preserve at-risk heritage sites
A new online library has launched to digitally preserve major cultural heritage sites to prevent them from being lost in the future, reports Smithsonian.com.
Named Open Heritage, the online library is a collaboration between Google Arts and Culture and CyArk, a technology nonprofit that works to preserve cultural heritage sites.
The project currently collects open-source data and visual representations for 27 heritage sites in 15 countries, including the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the city of Bagan in Myanmar, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, with more to be added. The visual models are created by using 3D laser scanning, radar images, photographs, drone imagery and other ‘non-intrusive’ documentations of the historical sites.
CyArk was founded in 2003 by Iraqi American entrepreneur Ben Kacyra, who was motivated to start the company after watching news reports about the destruction of the Buddha monuments in the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan in 2001.
Google Arts & Culture program manager Chance Coughenour told Smithsonian.com that the project aims to create a lasting blueprint of each site ‘in the event it is lost in the future’. ‘It means providing raw data today for future uses,’ said Coughenour, who added that CyArk could also return to documented sites to record new information—for example, in the event of a natural disaster, or if local authorities or archaeologists need new information.
Coughenour said the project also helps users to visualise and ‘virtually explore’ these places, some of which they may never have a chance to see in person.
Category: Library news International