Google Arts and the nonprofit organization CyArk have come together to present the Open Heritage initiative, which enables anyone to tour historical monuments and locations across the world from the comfort of their own home — or classroom.
The joint venture currently offers virtual access to 27 world heritage locations set in 18 different countries. A wide range of locations is available for the public to remotely visit, such as Chichén Itzá in Mexico and Ancient Corinth in Greece.
Open Heritage provides an excellent virtual learning opportunity for students: Thanks to digital imaging, it’s now possible to explore locations that would otherwise be closed to the public or on the bring of being lost forever. It’s also a great way to learn about these heritage sites as each features an extensive description that provides context on its importance and history.
Free interactive libraries like the Open Heritage can be an asset in any class as they can capture students’ interest and create a sense of amazement. The 3D models and expedition overviews can become great complementary material for students of any age and can be used alongside other interactive tools in the classroom.
CyArk researched the locations included in the Open Heritage library using the latest technology such as detailed photography, LIDAR (light detection and ranging) measurements, and drone imagery. While anyone can visit the 3D monuments, the open-source research data for each location is also available upon request. This means that anyone can access and use the data CyArk collected.
As such, CyArk’s research enables amateur historians to make discoveries of their own on precise models and also provides useful information to assist professionals with artifact restoration efforts.
Photo credit: artsandculture.google.com/project/cyark