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Preserving Humanity’s Cultural Legacy

Learn how Seagate and CyArk are digitally preserving the world’s most important cultural heritage sites for the next millennium.

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Ensuring Heritage Sites Are Never Lost

The Louvre has perfected the art of protecting the Mona Lisa. The British Museum safeguards mummies that have been entombed for thousands of years. But what about Mount Rushmore, or Angkor in Cambodia, or Jerash in Jordan? Heritage sites are a significant part of humanity’s collective memory, and we are losing them at an alarming rate. Earthquakes, climate change or war can destroy these irreplaceable cultural heritage sites at any time, and they are too large to simply be locked away. So how can we ensure that they are maintained for future generations? The solutionis to digitally scan, recreate and preserve them forever. 

Seagate is partnering with CyArk, an international non-profit organization, to digitally preserve 500 key heritage sites around the world over the next five years. Using 3D laser scanning and other advanced technologies, CyArk captures detailed 3D data representations of the world’s most significant cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time. CyArk is using Seagate's enterprise servers, intuitive business NAS systems and ruggedized mobile hard drives to capture, centralize, and archive these massive data files, allowing future generations to experience these incredible sites in a way never before possible.

How Does It Work?

How do you digitally preserve a real life structure? It starts with creating a point cloud. Bouncing laser light off the surfaces at the site, 3D scanners measure millions of points a second, accurate to within a few millimeters, to create a 3D data set, or point cloud. Colors on the point cloud represent the intensity of reflection from the surfaces.

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The next step is generating a mesh. Individual data points are joined together via small triangles, connecting the dots to form a wireframe. These triangles are used to form a solid surface from the points, creating a solid 3D model. The model is then colored using photographs taken of the surface of the structure. The result is a photo-real 3D model which can then be used to further study the site, or for conservation and education.

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With the goal of preserving 500 of the world’s most important or at-risk sites within five years, nearly 100 projects have already been completed, including Pompeii, Babylon, Mt. Rushmore, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Titanic, the Sydney Opera House, and the Tower of London. The partnership with Seagate is enabling CyArk to scale operations to achieve this ambitious goal, more than doubling the number of projects the organization can undertake each year. 

To accomplish the 500, we have international teams collecting massive data in rugged zones and transmitting that data securely back to headquarters.
Scott Lee Director of Operations, CyArk

Perfectly Preserved for the Next Millennium 

Across all CyArk activities, Seagate answers the question: What does it mean to preserve the world’s priceless digital assets forever? Forever is a long time, especially considering the rapid evolution of data storage technology. Through redundancy, security, and the embrace of ongoing data storage technology innovation, Seagate is working to preserve these priceless digital assets for the next millennium—achieving CyArk’s ambitious goal and outlasting the organization itself.

See how other organizations are using Seagate to harness the power of their data.