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Google offers access to virtual 3D models of ancient monuments

You can virtually visit historic locations in 18 countries.
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LUIS PEREZ via Getty Images

Historic monuments around the world face threats from natural disasters, tourism and war, which is what led Ben Kacyra to found CyArk -- a non-profit organization working to scan and digitally archive ancient monuments. With laser scanning, photogrammetry, drone imaging and structured light scanning, CyArk's team has been developing detailed, digital 3D images of structures like the Ananda Ok Kyaung temple in Myanmar, the Al Azem Palace in Syria and Chichen Itza in Mexico. Now, Google is making these models available through its Arts & Culture platform.

In 2016, an earthquake damaged a number of Myanmar's ancient temples. But because CyArk had scanned and photographed some of the structures both inside and outside prior to the quake, it was able to create accurate 3D models of the damaged temples. You can now explore them through your computer, smartphone or VR viewer and see how they once looked. The data collected by CyArk could also be used to aid in restoration efforts.

Through Google Arts & Culture, you can now see 25 historic locations in 18 countries and those wanting to download CyArk's data can apply to do so through this form. You can explore those sites in 3D here and check out the video below for more information about CyArk's efforts.

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