Geo Week News

January 18, 2012

CyArk names new executive director


Tom Greaves ‘to help these sites and institutions and objects tell their stories’

SAN FRANCISCO – CyArk, the 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving world heritage through 3D data capture and delivery, has named former SPAR 3D head Tom Greaves as its new executive director. Founder Ben Kacyra will hand over day-to-day operations of CyArk to Greaves, leaving him free to “focus his efforts on strategic development of the organization,” Greaves said.

“I don’t expect him to be less busy,” Greaves said with a chuckle. “He’s a very dynamic individual and full engaged … He’ll be free to take on some higher-level parts of the mission.”

That mission, Greaves said, is to not only digitally capture world heritage sites (both “official” and not) around the globe for posterity and conservation, but also “help these sites and institutions and objects tell their stories.” More specifically, CyArk pledged to digitally preserve 500 of the most important world historical sites in five years’ time.

By way of a timely example, in collaboration with the National Parks Service CyArk just this week launched its new Mt. Rushmore portal, which allows visitors to navigate a number of areas of the Mr. Rushmore park with panoramic images, look at 3D data and a number of photos, and generally learn a great deal about the historic mountain sculpture and the people who created and care for it.

The new site even made ABC News.

Greaves said that’s just the first in a full pipeline of similar projects “where we’ve captured the facility or the installation and we’re busy processing it to the level where we can serve it up to the public.” Last month, they launched a similar portal for the Hopi Petroglyph sites.

Currently, CyArk has 10 to 15 people working in some capacity around the globe, and much of the actual data capture is outsourced. Funding comes by way of private donations, grants, and compensation from various organizations for which CyArk is capturing and processing 3D data. 

With all of this scanning and data collection going on, the organization also is stockpiling a wealth of best-practices knowledge and “part of our brief,” Greaves said, “is to provide training services.” Most recently, CyArk collaborated with South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal to set up training and education efforts, and Greaves believes there are opportunities to work with industry as well.

“I think that’s really at the heart of our mission,” Greaves said, “to expand the use of these 3D methods and tools and processes in the digital heritage and preservation arena is what CyArk is all about.”

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