CyArk is teaming up with Google Arts and Culture to offer an online 3D library of cultural heritage sites around the world. Ben Kacyra grew up in Mosul, Iraq and for the past 15+ years has been on a mission to record as many cultural heritage sites around the world as time and resources will allow.
The website has been named Open Heritage. The project includes a collection of open-source data and visual representations of heritage sites around the world. Currently it documents 27 sites in 15 countries, including the Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, the ancient city of Bagan in Myanmar, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., with more sites to be added in the future.
“We want to use the most current technology available to us to digitally document and record a lasting blueprint to preserve it digitally in the event it is lost in the future,” says Google Arts & Culture program manger Chance Coughenour in an interview with Smithsonian.com. Coughenour coordinates cultural heritage preservation efforts for Google Arts & Culture, including this latest project with CyArk.
According to Google, the Open Heritage is the world’s largest archive of this type of open-source heritage data. The idea is to use the search giant as a platform for users to access these places, some of which they may never have a chance to see in person. “We’re just visualizing it for them,” as Coughenour says. “It’s giving people the chance to virtually explore and learn about a new location maybe they’ve never heard of before.”