Google is partnering with non-profit CyArk so anyone can visit ancient monuments and temples, many of which are at risk of being damaged, or, in some cases, have already been devastated.
One example available now is a temple in Bagan, Myanmar, that was damaged in a 2016 earthquake. CyArk is building an extensive 3D record of places from the real world, with particular focus on locations at risk of being destroyed. In this case, CyArk scanned the site prior to that earthquake, allowing it to be revisited in VR as it was prior to the damage.
The group uses a variety of techniques to capture the scenes, with 3D models available for some to fully explore in VR. Other locations in the Internet-powered exhibition include Al Azem Palace in Damascus, Syria, and the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico.
Google’s Arts & Culture efforts previously included bringing the collections of various museums online, but the partnership with CyArk takes it further by letting folks actually visit historic sites without leaving home. In addition, the effort seems to push forward Google’s broader work with the 3D object repository Poly, moving the service from simple objects to the high-end business of reality reconstruction.