Jul 31, 2017

The CyArk Story


CyArk is a non profit organization founded in 2003 to digitally record, archive and share the world's cultural heritage and ensure that these places continue to inspire wonder and curiosity for decades to come. After nearly 15 years in operation we have recorded over 200 monuments on all 7 continents. 

Destruction of Heritage
CyArk was founded in 2003 by Ben and Barbara Kacyra after they were shocked and moved by the destruction of 5th century Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. CyArk operates internationally as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of using new technologies to create a free, 3D online library of the world's cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time.  

Since its founding, CyArk has documented over 200 sites on all seven continents. The sites range from modern marvels of engineering to precious archaeological sites that tell the history of the people who came before us.

To keep up with our progress sign up for our monthly newsletter. To support our continued efforts to document sites and continue to open our archive donate to our cause.

CyArk works across three principal areas: Conservation, Recovery and Discovery
CyArk assists those who work to manage and preserve these sites by providing engineering drawings and detailed maps to assist in critical conservation work and active management. The outputs we produce empower local stakeholders with better information to make decisions about the sites they manage in order to safeguard them for future generations.
CyArk's data can serve as a point in time record of the site and can be used in recovery efforts following natural or human caused destruction of a site. We archive the data using state of the art processes to ensure that this data continues to be available tomorrow or decades in the future. 
CyArk strives to share our data in powerful ways, including truly immersive experiences that convey the power of these places, transporting users that may never have a chance to experience them and inspiring others to make the journey. This includes virtual reality experiences and interactive web content to bring the magic of these places to people everywhere. 

CyArk uses three principle technologies to document heritage sites.

Laser Scanning

The laser scanner or Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) device is moved all around the site to capture the exact geometry and shape of the monument. ​LiDAR devices are used to scan the surface of each feature to an accuracy of +-2mm.


Cameras mounted on a robotic rig are moved around the site to capture the color and texture of the site. Every photo has at least 60% overlap with the subsequent photo. These images are processed along with scan data into 3D photo-textured models.


Drones are used to capture aerial photographs above, around and at least 50 meters to each side of a monument and are used to fill in data that was missed by scanning and terrestrial photogrammetry.

LiDAR and photogrammetric images are combined to form a 3D photo-realistic model that can be used for conservation and promotion of the site.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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