January 18, 2010
Al Remley, (210) 534-8833
The National Park Service (NPS) at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is developing a groundbreaking partnership with CyArk – a US-based non-profit organization that pioneered the digital preservation (3D laser scanning, modeling, archiving and public dissemination) of world heritage sites and monuments. The partnership’s task is the 3D digital recording of Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, and the Espada Aqueduct. This project will produce essential documentation for on-going restoration efforts, while creating valuable resources for K-12 education and cultural tourism.
Scott Bentley, Superintendent at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, said of the project, “This partnership will provide essential information that will help us better preserve, protect, and interpret these incredible resources using the latest technology. In addition, these wonderful sites will be more accessible for more detailed architectural studies and analysis. With the development of new educational materials we will also be encouraging a new generation of students to learn about their history in different and engaging ways.”
The Foundation seeks to digitally capture world heritage sites and monuments to create a lasting record with projects such as Mesa Verde in the US, Pompeii in Italy, Ancient Thebes in Egypt, Tikal in Guatemala, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and Angkor in Cambodia, to list but a few. Ben Kacyra of CyArk said “We are thrilled to be working with the National Park Service on another American treasure. The Mission sites throughout the country represent a very important part of our history. The National Parks Service’s objectives align closely with the CyArk mission and we are proud to be working cooperatively to help further the spread the knowledge of the San Antonio Missions by disseminating the project to the world via the CyArk website. This will allow researchers and the interested public to access the 3D data and educational materials, and provide a future for the data in the CyArk archive.”
Kacyra is credited with introducing the first commercial portable 3D laser scanning and modeling system in the early 1990’s through his company, Cyra Technologies. Cyra Technologies was acquired by Leica Geosystems in 2002.
The scanning project will be led by CyArk with critical technical and logistical support through Critigen. Crtitigen is a leader in the field of 3D laser scanning and visualization. The project is scheduled to begin January 18th, 2010 and is expected to be completed in two weeks.
The San Antonio Missions digital preservation project will provide a three-dimensional, digital model capable of recreating built surfaces with an accuracy of less than 1 centimeter. This 3D model will be highlighted on the CyArk website for showcasing to the public the heritage and historic assets contained within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
The value of the 3D model provides realistic digital information of the site, and has applications to provide innovative and interactive public interpretation, education, research and security programs. Regarding mutual goals of preserving precious heritage sites in the event of an incident resulting in damage to the structures, the model would provide the data necessary to accurately reconstruct the missions.
The digital model will also give the NPS the ability to develop a very realistic interactive model for the San Antonio Missions for education and interpretive use, including a possible “virtual tour” of the entire site. The 3D models of the Missions and associated structures can also be used to create digital educational games for K-12.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park’s friends group, Los Compadres, is a major funder of this project.. “This 3D scanning project is the kind of project we support at Los Compadres,” says Sue Ann Garcia, chairperson of the Board of Directors at Los Compadres. “We like to assist the park to find innovative ways to preserve and interpret these incredible sites.”
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was established in 1978 to preserve, restore, and interpret the Spanish colonial missions of San Antonio, which represent the largest concentration of cultural resources from the Spanish colonial period in the United States.
Los Compadres is the non-profit support group to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Chartered in 1983, Los Compadres has raised over $4 million for preservation, rehabilitation, education and development projects for which no government funds are available.
For more information about the National Park Service and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park please visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/saan. For more information about the park’s friends group, Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, visit www.loscompadres.org. For more information about CyArk visit www.cyark.org.