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US non-profit brings digital preservation to Hue relics

American non-profit organization CyArk is collecting imagery data of two historic buildings in central Vietnam’s Hue to make future preservation work easy.

The Tomb of Tu Duc, the fourth emperor of Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), and the An Dinh Palace are among buildings around the world chosen for the digital preservation program by CyArk, which was founded in 2003 in response to the increasing global threat to cultural heritage sites from human destruction, looting and encroachment, as well as natural forces such as earthquakes, fire and floods.

For the Hue relics system, CyArk is applying the same method it has used to document over 200 sites around the world.

It uses laser scanning and drone camera to create high resolution imagery from the ground and above and then processes and combines those images into accurate 3D surface model of the heritage sites.

It also partners with Seagate, an American data storage facility, to store the data, which will also be provided to Hue Monuments Conservation Center.

Phan Thanh Hai, director of the center, said the data will be used to create 3D photos that locals and visitors can explore online either on a computer, through a mobile device, or wearing a virtual reality headset.

Earlier this year, CyArk teamed up with Google to launch Open Heritage, providing open access to a 3D collection of the heritages around the world, including some that have been damaged by wear and tear or human actions.

The former imperial city of Hue is the first place in Vietnam chosen for digital conservation by CyArk.

The city received 1.97 million tourists in the first five months this year, up 38 percent against the same period last year, including 878,000 foreigners, up 64 percent.

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