The 2016 Myanmar Earthquake

A story of rapid response preservation in Bagan, Myanmar

By CyArk


CyArk documents the Ananda ok Kyaung Monastery in Bagan by CyArkCyArk

Damaged temple at Bagan by CyArkCyArk

August 24, 2016

At around 5:00 PM on August, 24th a 6.8 magnitude earthquake damaged about 400 historical monuments in Bagan. Some of the damage was blamed on a variety of factors including low quality materials used to reconstruct parts of the site, lack of regular maintenance, and the new construction materials toppling and damaging the original structure. By contrast, monuments that did not feature newer construction only had minor damage.

Drone documentation of Ananda temple by CyArkCyArk

Digital Documentation Workshop

Immediately following the earthquake CyArk and Carleton University sent a team to assist in the documentation of the damaged monuments and provide training in digital documentation methods. Working in collaboration with the Department of Archaeology of Myanamr and UNESCO, CyArk completed the documentation of nine monuments and consulted with site managers around data management and archiving.

Damaged brick temple at Bagan by CyArkCyArk


The country responded to the earthquake by quickly sealing off the site and assessing the damage. The local population of Bagan rallied together to help clear rubble from the earthquake while supervisors worked to distinguish the modern construction from the ancient fragments. CyArk and Carleton aided UNESCO and local site authorities in documenting the damage done to the site. 

Workers climb the Bamboo scaffolding built around the damaged temples in Bagan, Myanmar. by CyArkCyArk

Workers use bamboo scaffolding to conduct stabilization efforts on many of the monuments.

Difference Analysis for Eim Ya Kyaung Temple by CyArkCyArk

Difference Analysis 

As CyArk had documented several of the monuments before the earthquake, a comparative analysis was completed to determine the extent and scope of damage. 

Photorealistic 3D Model of a Temple in Bagan by CyArkCyArk

Photorealistic 3D Model of a Eim Ya Kyaung nga-myet hna Temple in Bagan, Myanmar

Architectural sections generated from 3D data by CyArkCyArk

Digital Tools for Restoration

Sections were generated from the 3D models to plan restoration initiatives. 

Open Heritage 3D (2019) by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project:

Ananda Oak Kyaung.

Eim Ya Kyaung (Pre Earthquake.

Eim Ya Kyaung (Post Earthquake.


Loka Oakshang Temple.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

Find out more about CyArk's work by signing up for our newsletter. You can also support our continued efforts on projects like this by donating.

This project was made possible through the generous support of Google Cultural Institute and the following partners:

Myanmar Department of Archaeology

Carleton University

National Geographic Society

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.
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