Group makes 3D backups of world landmarks - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Group makes 3D backups of world landmarks

Posted: Updated:
Past meets future… A scan of Mount Rushmore (Picture: CyArk) Past meets future… A scan of Mount Rushmore (Picture: CyArk)
Climbing teams scan the whites of Abraham Lincoln’s eyes (Picture: CyArk) Climbing teams scan the whites of Abraham Lincoln’s eyes (Picture: CyArk)
(Picture: CyArk) (Picture: CyArk)
(Picture: CyArk) (Picture: CyArk)

By RAPHAEL SATTER
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - We all know to back up our files and photos, but what about our castles and churches?

A nonprofit named CyArk has created digital copies of more than 100 of the world's best-known monuments, mapping Roman ruins, ancient statues, and even an entire island. Now it plans 400 more, with the goal of preserving the world's most important sites against war, wear, and the impact of climate change.

"There is never going to be enough time or money to preserve everything," CyArk co-founder Barbara Kacyra said Monday at a launch event at the Tower of London.

"If you can't physically save something, your next best thing is to digitally preserve it."

Oakland, California-based CyArk works by using 3D laser scanners, radar, and a host of other technologies to create detailed maps of famous monuments - from Mt. Rushmore to the Leaning Tower of Pisa - measuring nooks and nicks with millimeter precision.

Not only do the lasers capture minute damage invisible to most cameras, the 3D data can be used to create hyper-realistic models and flyover programs used by tourists and educators.

Master copies of the measurements are kept by Iron Mountain Inc., which stores some 2 petabytes' worth of data on magnetic tape in its secure underground archive at the bottom of a former limestone mine in Pennsylvania.

Kacyra said the project was born out of the heartbreak of seeing the Taliban pulverize the Afghan Buddha statues in 2001, but Gustavo Araoz, a senior preservationist who's helping CyArk draw up a list of its next 400 sites, says similar destruction is playing out in slow motion across the globe.

"This happens every day at a smaller and much less dramatic scale," he said.

There's already some evidence that the preservation project is paying dividends. Ugandan diplomat Sam Muhwezi told The Associated Press that the 3D model drawn up by CyArk was being used to help restore a fire-damaged tomb complex in his country.

"It's the perfect example of why this kind of project is important," he said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • *UPDATE* Missing juvenile female in Alexandria FOUND

    *UPDATE* Missing juvenile female in Alexandria FOUND

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:31:25 GMT
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing juvenile. Gabrielle Dubroc is described as a white female, 14 years of age, with brown hair, brown eyes, and is 5’2” tall.More >>
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing juvenile. Gabrielle Dubroc is described as a white female, 14 years of age, with brown hair, brown eyes, and is 5’2” tall.More >>
  • New "Swatting" game causes massive police response

    New "Swatting" game causes massive police response

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:57:42 GMT
    LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBS News) - Police descended upon a home in Long Island, N.Y. Tuesday after receiving a 911 call from a man who said he had shot several of his relatives inside the house.More >>
    LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBS News) - Police descended upon a home in Long Island, N.Y. Tuesday after receiving a 911 call from a man who said he had shot several of his relatives inside the house.More >>
  • Woman allegedly attacked boyfriend with ax, went after neighbors

    Woman allegedly attacked boyfriend with ax, went after neighbors

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:50:25 GMT
    LUNENBURG, Mass. (CBS News) - A Massachusetts woman has been arrested after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend with an ax before also going after the couple across the street, reports CBS Boston.More >>
    LUNENBURG, Mass. (CBS News) - A Massachusetts woman has been arrested after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend with an ax before also going after the couple across the street, reports CBS Boston.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.