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The CyArk logo.
CyArk is a nonprofit, noncommercial project of the Kacyra Family Foundation located in Orinda, California, United States. The company's website refers to it as a "High-Definition Heritage Network".

History

CyArk was founded in 2002 by Iraqimarker expatriate and civil engineer Ben Kacyra, who was instrumental in the invention and marketing of the first truly portable laser scanner called the Cyrax designed for surveying purposes during the 1990s, through his corporation Cyra Technologies Inc. After the company and the rights to the invention were purchased by Swiss firm Leica Geosystems in 2001, Kacyra dedicated his energy and finances, through CyArk, to application of the new technology in the documentation ofarchaeological and cultural heritage resources, particularly threatened ancient architecture found at sites such as Coloradomarker's Mesa Verde, Italymarker's Pompeiimarker, and Kacyra's native Mosulmarker in Iraq – also known as the biblical Assyrian city of Ninevehmarker. CyArk generated a fairly large amount of publicity in 2007, at least in part seemingly due to the relevance of Kacyra's life story to current global events and the ongoing Iraq War, during which much of the country's cultural patrimony has disappeared during a continuing spasm of looting.

Project Focus

3-dimensional projection of Tikal Temple II
CyArk's mission statement notes that it is "dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage sites through the CyArk 3D Heritage Archive, an internet archive which is the repository for heritage site data developed through laser scanning, digital modeling, and otherstate-of-the-art spatial technologies.". The publicly-accessible web archive focuses on each archaeological site studied with a short film introduction, clickable thumbnail photographs of areas of the site and a site plan; as well as three-dimensional images of site details such as rooms and profiles (often taken from a "point cloud" image showing the raw scan data) and computer-generated reconstructions. The site also has a section on hazards, composed of a world mapdelineating heritage sites at risk from earthquakes and sea level rise due to Global Warming. Befitting the public educational aspect of their mission, CyArk has provided for nonprofit use of some of its images through a Creative Commons license.

Funding

CyArk's website states that it is funded primarily through foundation grants and has established working relationships with numerous project partners in the engineering, media, and academic worlds; including Plowman Craven, PBS, and UC Berkeleymarker, where the company coordinated an internship program with the department of archaeology in 2006-2007.

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