Open Heritage: Sharing 3D Data with the World

Editorial Feature

By Google Arts & Culture

Words by John Ristevski, Chairman and CEO of CyArk

A view of the Temple of Apollo Portara with the view of the island of Naxos in the background by CyArkCyArk

John Ristevski, Chairman and CEO of CyArk, on how people are digitally preserving the wonders of the world

Last year on World Heritage Day, CyArk launched Open Heritage to showcase the technology used for heritage preservation around the world. This year, we’re expanding the project further. Our goal isn’t just to digitally preserve heritage sites at risk, but to make their stories and the data we collected available to future generations of researchers, educators and students.

In addition to bringing 30 new heritage locations and their stories to life, Historic Environment Scotland and the Digital Heritage and Humanities Center at the University of South Florida Libraries – organizations with a shared commitment to opening their 3D datasets to the world – have also joined the project for 2019. Together we are launching Open Heritage 3D, a dedicated portal for sharing 3D cultural heritage data and the results of their work with everyone.

Discover some of the latest sites added to the project below:

Explore the Temple of Apollo, an unfinished Greek temple, said to offer one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.

A view of the Temple of Apollo with the Naxos in the background (From the collection of CyArk)

Unearth the 5,000 year old ceremonial buildings at the heart of Neolithic Orkney.

Ring of Orkney (2009)CyArk

Ring of Orkney (From the collection of CyArk)

Find out how the Thomas Jefferson Memorial honors America's founding father.

Aerial view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (2018) by Kieran Kesner for CyArkCyArk

Aerial view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial by Kieran Kesner (From the collection of CyArk)

Dive into the intricate details of the Masjid Wazir Khan, the most ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.

A view of the entrance of Masjid Wazir Khan by CyArkCyArk

A view of the entrance of Masjid Wazir Khan (From the collection of CyArk)

At CyArk, we carry out this mission of preserving cultural heritage through 3D documentation. In 2018, we traveled to Mexico City to support restoration efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck there in 2017. Our efforts included the 3D documentation of the city’s enormous cathedral. It’s one of many cultural heritage sites across the world facing unprecedented challenges from natural disasters, climate change, human conflict and urban encroachment.

Today, we’re adding the data collected during the Mexico City project to Open Heritage, along with 29 other endangered sites around the globe, including the Temple of Apollo in Greece, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the US, or the Tomb of Tu Duc in Vietnam.

Since we began this project last year, the data has been downloaded thousands of times, used to create 3D printed temples from Thailand and incorporated into VR experiences that let you explore an ancient city.

Five of the new locations available today are in Damascus, Syria, a city impacted by civil war. From 2016 to 2017, we embarked upon an extensive training program for young professionals from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Lebanon, providing them with the tools and skills to document their heritage. Teaching our 3D documentation methodology is a core part of our mission and is becoming increasingly more important as organizations around the world adopt the use of 3D recording technologies.

Photogrammetry at the Temple of Eshmun (2017-01-17) by CyArkCyArk

Photogrammetry at the Temple of Eshmun (From the collection of CyArk)

Return to Open Heritage.

Credits: All media
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.
Explore more
Related theme
Open Heritage
Explore iconic locations in 3D, discover the tools of digital preservation, and download CyArk’s collection
View theme
Google apps