May 20, 2022

New Resource: Open Access to the World’s Largest 3D Heritage Collection: Google and CyArk Announce Launch of “Open Heritage”

From a Google Blog Post:

2018-04-16_17-40-11When Ben Kacyra watched on TV as the Taliban destroyed 1,500 year-old Buddhist statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in 2001, he felt compelled to do something. Mr. Kacyra, who happens to be one of the creators of the world’s first three-dimensional laser scanning system, realized that his technology could be used to record monuments at risk of damage due to natural disasters, war, or tourism, so that they could be preserved for future generations.

He founded CyArk, a non-profit that has created the world’s largest and most detailed 3D digital archive of endangered wonders of the world—a lasting record of monuments at risk of disappearing. Now, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with CyArk to open up access to their virtual wonders and share their stories with everyone.


As part of this new online exhibition you can explore stories from over 25 iconic locations across 18 countries around the world, including the Al Azem Palace in war-torn Damascus, Syria and the ancient Mayan metropolis of Chichen Itza in Mexico. For many of the sites, we also developed intricate 3D models that allow you to inspect from every angle, using the new Google Poly 3D viewer on Google Arts & Culture.


To help the work of restorers, researchers, educators and the entire community working to preserve our cultural heritage, we’re opening up access to the source data collected by CyArk from around the world. Now anyone can apply to download the data, with the help of the Google Cloud Platform.

Read the Google Complete Blog Post

Direct to Open Heritage (via Google Arts & Culture)

Direct to CyArk Website

See Also: The CyArk Story

See Also: CyArk and DJS Will Begin Laser Scanning Lincoln Memorial Next Week (December 5, 2013)

See Also: CyArk: “Project Stores 3D Images of World Historic Sites in Limestone Mine” (April 2, 2013)

See Also: California High School Students to Create 3D Archive of Mission Santa Ines (March 22, 2013)

TED Talk by Ben Kacyra, Founder of CyArk

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.