On the night of May 14, 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed the Dutch city of Rotterdam. When government administrators entered the streets to tally their losses the next morning, they learned that 900 people had lost their lives. As if this was not bad enough, the Luftwaffe had also destroyed hundreds of historic houses; Rotterdam’s city center — one of the oldest in the country and jam-packed with seventeenth century architecture — had been reduced to dust. If 3D laser scans had been available a digital record of Rotterdam would have been available for future generations.
From an article in Big Think by Tim Brinkhof.
In 2001, the Taliban pulverized two statues of Vairocana and Guatama Buddha that had been carved from a cliffside in the Bamyan valley of central Afghanistan. Standing no less than 38 and 55 meters tall, respectively, the statues were two of the tallest Buddhist monuments in the entire world and an important destination for traveling monks. The Buddhas were leveled on orders of Taliban co-founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, who tried to rid his country of any religious tributes that were not aimed at Allah.
During a hot summer evening two years ago, the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire. The building, whose construction had begun in the twelfth century, was not designed with modern fire safety standards in mind. Though conservators do their best to keep everything in good condition, an accident was bound to happen eventually. While the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling kept flames from wreaking havoc on its interior, most of the wooden roof and spire burned to a crisp.
Throughout history, countless artifacts have been caught in the crossfires of war, deliberately targeted by iconoclasts or swallowed up by the indifferent forces of nature and time. As a result, numerous non-profit groups and agencies — most notably, UNESCO — have sprung up to prevent the present from erasing the past. But while even the most well protected monument remains at risk of being physically destroyed, we now have a way to preserve them digitally.
For the complete article on 3D laser scans CLICK HERE.
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