When I was a boy, my father used to take me by the hand to visit the ruins of the ancient metropolis on the outskirts of our town. We would always stop by to visit the huge winged bulls that guarded the gates of the ancient city of Nineveh.
I was scared of the winged bulls, but at the same time, they excited me. Through them and the site, I learned the stories of the civilization that lived along the Tigris River in what was now Northern Iraq.
Many decades later, I started a technology company that brought the world its first 3-D laser scanning system and cloud of points software. The systems we developed were extremely fast and could rapidly collect millions of points with very high accuracy and very high resolution.
A surveyor with traditional survey tools would be hard-pressed to produce maybe 500 points in a whole day. These new systems would produce something like 10,000 points a second. As you can imagine, this was a paradigm shift in the survey and construction businesses, as well as in the reality capture industry.
In 2001, Cyra Technologies was acquired by Leica Geosystems. Right around that time, a terrible tragedy happened: The magnificent 160-foot-tall Buddhas in the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan were blown up by the Taliban. They were gone in an instant. Unfortunately, there was no detailed record of the site.
This devastated me, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the fate of my old friends, the winged bulls, and the fate of heritage sites all over the world.
My wife and I decided to start a project to digitally preserve world heritage sites…
[continues at CNN]
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