Digital technology has come to the rescue for all of us countless times. We can find that elusive new café on our smartphone maps; we can remove boundaries of communication through online translation; we can store all of our photos on safe and secure devices. Digital technology is now helping to solve a difficult but critical problem: how to safely preserve ancient heritage sites across the world.
Cultural heritage sites play a significant part in celebrating humanity's diverse history, collective experiences and memories. We treasure these sites for their ability to transport us back to a different century or decade and make us see the world through a different perspective.
Unfortunately, all of these sites are vulnerable to damage - from natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding, or man-made effects such as climate change and even, as we've seen recently in the ancient city of Palmyra, war. As a result, we can find ourselves in a race against time to protect the sites that are a core part of the history of humankind. Just imagine if we could preserve, protect and maintain these cultural heritage sites - and, on top of that, make them accessible to everyone in the world no matter where they are.
Fortunately, technology is helping to make this a reality.
Seagate has recently partnered with CyArk, an international non-profit organisation, to digitally preserve 500 key heritage sites around the world over five years. Using 3D laser scanning and other advanced technologies, CyArk is digitally preserving the world's most significant cultural heritage sites, such as St Michael's Mount in the UK and the Brandenburg Gate in Germany.
It takes about 10,000 gigabytes of data to digitally preserve each site - that's equivalent to 200 trucks of paper. To manage the tremendous amount of data involved, Seagate is providing pioneering enterprise storage drives and rugged mobile hard drives to save and transport the data from each site to CyArk headquarters in Oakland, California, and ultimately to Iron Mountain's secure storage facility.
To date, 90 cultural heritage sites have been digitally preserved. Being able to digitally scan these heritage sites and produce a 3D data representation along with virtual tours and educational lessons which you can experience from the comfort of your own home is truly remarkable. As well as providing a solution to preserve these sites in perpetuity, the project is allowing us to educate younger generations about the history of our planet.
We'd like to think that we're helping to build the museum of the future.