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Scanning the Modern Wonders for Posterity

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October 21, 2013

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are long gone (except for the Pyramids), but today's wonders could live on virtually long after they're gone physically, thanks to an initiative to electronically catalog 500 sites around the world.

CyArk is the name of the nonprofit initiative, based in Oakland, Calif. A host of people use radar, laser scanners, photogrammetry, and a host of other kinds of technology to create 3-D digital maps of famous monuments like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The initiative has mapped 100 of the world's best-known monuments already and plans to map 400 more. Among the monuments already scanned is Mount Rushmore, at which scientists mapped the cracks in the faces of the four presidents.

The scans will be available to the public online, on websites and on mobile apps. Backup copies will be stored in an underground archive.

CyArk was founded in 2003, partly in response to the destruction of a famous pair of Buddha statues in Afghanistan.


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