Ben Kacyra was one of the creators of the world’s first three-dimensional laser scanning systems. In 2001 after watching the Taliban destroy the 1,500 year old Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan he set up the non-profit CyArk.

CyArk intends to record and preserve monuments of historical and cultural value that are at risk due to war, terrorism, natural disasters or urban expansion. CyArk has the world’s largest and most detailed archive of 3D models of endangered wonders of the world. It preserves a lasting collection of monuments at risk of disappearing for good.

Recently Google Arts and Culture have teamed up with CyArk to open up access to these virtual wonders of the world that may be too unstable or too dangerous to visit. With modern technology,  these monuments can be captured in full detail, including the colour and texture of surfaces alongside the geometry captured by the laser scanners with millimeter precision in 3D. These detailed scans can also be used to identify areas of damage and assist restoration efforts.

Over the past seven years, we’ve partnered with 1,500 museums from over 70 countries to bring their collections online and put more of the world’s culture at your fingertips. This project marks a new chapter for Google Arts & Culture, as it is the first time we’re putting 3D heritage sites on the platform.

To help the work of restorers, researchers, educators and the entire community working to preserve our heritage, we’re also opening up access to the source data collected by CyArk from around the world. Now anyone can apply to download the data with the help of the Google Cloud Platform and can use it for the benefit of these monuments.

But you don’t need to be an archaeologist to uncover fascinating details in this collection! Discover Google Arts & Culture’s “Open Heritage” project online—or download our free app for iOS or Android.


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