Soon you can visit ancient monuments in VR far better than Google Earth

Supported by Seagate, CyArk aims to preserve Earth’s at-risk and ancient sites in 3D models

Google Earth stores data of places in Street View at 1cm per pixel. CyArk captures 3D models of ancient sites at-risk at less than 1mm per pixel.

What is CyArk?

CyArk is a non-profit organisation that aims to ensure heritage sites are available to future generations while making them uniquely accessible today. Using a combination of 3D laser scanners, drones and mounted DSLRs for photogrammetry, CyArk’s team digitally preserves places at risk of destruction, such as Wat Phra Si San Phet in the historic city of Ayutthaya, Thailand.

CyArk aims to digitally preserve 500 sites by 2020.

Massive 3D capture files (we’re talking 2.7TB of data per site) are kept using Seagate’s tough storage solutions  - LaCie Rugged USB-C, Rugged RAID, 2big and 12big RAID storage, as well as Seagate’s Innov8, IronWolf 8TB and other high capacity data storage products.

Seagate has been supporting CyArk in its preservation mission since 2015, to help securely store and protect the data they collect throughout a project, from capturing and processing to archiving.

Taking a VR trip to Wat Phra Si San Phet

What’s most interesting is the massive data collected by CyArk is far better than what the eye can perceive, and far better than what consumer-level VR gear is able to display.

We were able to “visit” the Wat Phra Si San Phet in VR, and the quality of the Buddha statues, in addition to the cracks and vandalism on the walls looks extremely photorealistic.

This high level of imagery has its reasons - professionals are able to monitor deterioration in the sites and use the digital blueprints for reconstruction when disaster hits. 

When can we see this for ourselves?

The tech isn’t ready for consumer VR gear yet - but for now, there are a few simple models you can explore using Google Cardboard - check out Mount Rushmore, the Lukang Longshan temple, the Wazir Khan mosque and a whole lot more here.

Here’s hoping CyArk , along with Seagate, will be expanding their high quality VR demos to Singapore.