My Armenia Program Starts 3D Scanning and Digitization Initiative in Vayots Dzor

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A man shows to a group of students how 3D scanning equipment works
A CyArk expert conducts a field exercise for students of the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan.

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The My Armenia Program, funded by USAID and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution, has launched a project with CyArk, a California-based non-profit organization that uses new technologies to capture, archive and share the world’s cultural heritage with the global community. In Armenia, CyArk will be scanning the historical Noravank monastery and the Areni-1 cave complex in Vayots Dzor province, as well as design products that promote and share Armenia’s cultural heritage in and beyond the country. These two iconic sites are, respectfully, of historical and archaeological significance.

Thanks to new virtual reality headsets, visitors are now able to virtually experience the magnitude and beauty of a heritage site, captured in every detail by CyArk’s scanning devices. Through motion tracking tools, users not only see the site but are also able to move virtually through the site and explore the surrounding area. These kind of virtual experiences are great for presentations during public events such as travel trade fairs, museums and educational institutions in order to interest and engage tour operators, researchers and other interested parties in the opportunities and experiences Armenia can offer. The My Armenia Program and CyArk will collaborate to design virtual and visual products that will be showcased at museum exhibits, including the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., as well as trade shows, marketing and investment events. CyArk will also process the acquired data to develop photorealistic virtual reality experiences to allow visitors appreciate Armenia’s unique cultural heritage, thus increasing global awareness of Armenia as a cultural tourism destination.

As part of My Armenia’s partnership with CyArk, a four-day workshop was also held at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies for students and cultural heritage and architecture specialists. The training provided an overview of the three technological tools – photogrammetry, aerial imagery, and 3D scanning – CyArk will employ to document the Areni-1 cave complex and the Norovank monastery. Workshop activities included hands-on training with the equipment, scanning of sample sites in Yerevan, and data processing. Participants reviewed the captured data and learned about software applications for development of tourism materials such as virtual tours and videos. Workshop participants were also invited to follow CyArk’s field activities in Vayots Dzor to help promote the sustainability of such activities in the future.

Last updated: July 12, 2021

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