May 31, 2013

CyArk's 500 Challenge to save cultural heritage set to launch


Nonprofit’s data used by site conservators for education, cultural tourism

CyArk, the nonprofit dedicated to preserving world heritage through 3D data capture and delivery, said it will formally launch its 500 Challenge to digitally preserve 500 of the world’s most important cultural heritage sites over a five-year period in November.

At a two-day conference Oct. 20-22 at the Tower of London, CyArk will announce the first sites to be included in the 500 and lead discussions among key stakeholders to share experiences and best methods for capturing, disseminating and archiving information about these sites.

The Oakland, Calif.-based group said its mission is to save these cultural heritage sites digitally “before more are ravaged by war, terrorism, arson, urban sprawl, climate change, earthquakes, floods and other threats.”

“There isn’t enough money or enough time to physically save every site,” said CyArk Founder Ben Kacyra, “but we do have the 3D technology to digitally save these sites to make them available for generations to come.”

Years ago, CyArk pledged to digitally preserve 500 of the most important world historical sites in five years’ time.

In April, CyArk held the first meeting of the CyArk 500 Advisory Council to create a list of criteria for a site’s inclusion in the 500.

The CyArk 500 Advisory Council is chaired by current ICOMOS International president Gustavo Araoz. Other members include Sheridan Burke, Godden Mackay Logan; Bonnie Burnham, World Monuments Fund; Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage; Rohit Jigyasu, Ritsumeikan University; David Mitchell, Historic Scotland and Nelly Robles, El Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).

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