Launch of 3D Digital Portal Allows Virtual Access to Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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Date: January 10, 2012
Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115

KEYSTONE, SD: Mount Rushmore announces the launch of a new digital portal, Beginning January 10, online visitors will have access to 3D models created through an innovative laser scanning process.

The digital portal features an array of rich multimedia material including an interactive virtual tour of the Memorial, navigable and measurable 3D "point cloud" models comprised of the billions of points collected by the laser scanners, and a large collection of historic photographs.

"With this innovative web portal, internet users around the world will be able to remotely access the Memorial, whether it is to plan a visit or to virtually explore unusual areas such as the Hall of Records," said Superintendent Cheryl Schreier .

In May 2010, the National Park Service (NPS) collaborated with the Kacyra Family Foundation and CyArk, a non-profit organization dedicated to digitally preserving cultural heritage sites around the world, and the Center for Digital Documentation and Visualisation, a partnership between Historic Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art. The laser scanning project also owes its success to important contributions from Respec Engineering, and Wyss and Associates, who worked to develop a geo-referenced control network that was used to tie all the laser scan data together.

CyArk founder, Ben Kacyra, said, "It is an honor for our organization to digitally preserve such an important monument to the American spirit for generations to come. The CyArk website gives free access to users across the globe, allowing them to experience Mount Rushmore alongside other culturally significant world heritage sites." A variety of sites at Mount Rushmore National Memorial were laser scanned and photographed to capture the Memorial and create a highly accurate digital model. The resulting information was used in the development of media for physical preservation work, education and virtual visits.

Watch the portal for scanned data utilized in forthcoming projects including a collection of K-12 lesson plans available for download to use in the classroom. Lesson plans were developed during an education workshop bringing together the expertise of local high school math and art educators, NPS, and CyArk. Also in development is a new on-site exhibit at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center where visitors will learn about the digital preservation process, see the equipment used as part of the laser scanning project, and explore the digital archive.

For further information regarding activities and events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, please visit the park’s website at To learn more about the CyArk organization contact Elizabeth Lee, at 510-832-5440.

Last updated: January 24, 2016

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