There’s no lack of historic locations to visit on out fair planet, but most of them are constantly under threat of disappearing. Whether due to disasters, war, or the eventual killer of all things, time, many of the amazing structures around today will be gone eventually. However, a company named CyArk has dedicated itself to archiving them before that happens. It’s possible that you’ve never heard of CyArk before, but Google has, and now it’s making CyArk’s impressive maps of these structures and wonders available through its Arts & Culture app.
CyArk was founded by Ben Kacyra, who is also the creator of one of the world’s first three-dimensional laser scanner systems. As Google explains it over The Keyword, Kacyra was prompted to found CyArk and dedicate himself to preserving at-risk monuments and structures digitally after he watched the Taliban destroy 1,500-year-old Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.
That was back in 2001, and for the past 17 years, CyArk has been working to photograph and map locations that are at risk of disappearing. With this new partnership with Google, Arts & Culture users can now use the app to explore 25 different historic locations spread across 18 countries. Some of these sites, such as Ancient Corinth, have already been heavily exposed to the ravages of time, while others like the Brandenburg Gate don’t seem to be at any immediate risk of being torn down or otherwise destroyed.
CyArk isn’t just trying to prevent the loss of these structures to war or disaster, either – the wear associated with heavy tourism is a concern as well, which is why we see monuments like Chichen Itza on the list. You can browse the list of available sites on Google’s Open Heritage page if you’re on desktop, but you can also explore these sites on mobile or with your Daydream headset by downloading the Google Arts & Culture app.
Beyond just preservation, the work CyArk is doing can aid in restoration efforts after these structures have been damaged by disasters or war, so the work the company is doing is doubly important. The 3D models CyArk has been able to put together are definitely impressive, so be sure to give them a look if you get the chance.