Friday, September 20, 2013

Online resources: CyArk's Cultural Heritage Library

For digital designers, the creation of a free, online archive of the world's cultural heritage sites by international organisation Cyark, has got us in a bit of a tizz!

CyArk was formed in 2003 with a mission of digital preservation - using advanced digital technologies to capture today's sites of global significance and ensuring they are future-proofed. The wonders being worked by CyArk and other organisations such as GSA's Digital Design Studio at Pacific Quay is a revolution of our digital age. Whereas once ancient sites of historic interest were condemned to the ravages of time, war and natural disasters, new technologies are capturing and storing 3D data about worldwide sites of importance. This data is then used to produce minutely accurate and detailed drawings for work on site conservation and for use in research and education.

As well as helping to preserve the built environment as it is today, the realistic visualisations created can also be used by architects and engineers to discover more about the materials and design of buildings. Anthropologists, archaeologists, and social scientists may also find a purpose for them in endeavoring to learn more about how previous civilisations lived. By combining traditional surveying techniques with newer technologies such as laser-scanning and photogrammetry, this innovative new project heralds a new era for conservation and the archive with CyArk labelled the gold standard by many!

Use the 'world map' function or click on 'projects' to browse the wide range of sites CyArk have contributed work to, and select from the many articles written about individual projects under the 'News & Events' tab. The GSA Library catalogue holds many related book and journal titles on the topic of digital design and imaging, some of which can be found here. For students at DDS, there's also the Digital Design subject guide which will signpost you to relevant study materials.