Work Begins on Next Phase of Mount Rushmore Project

by Justin Barton
March 4, 2011
CyArk recently traveled to Rapid City, SD to meet with senior park staff to discuss the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Digital Preservation Project. This project is a 5 year partnership between the National Park Service and KFF/ CyArk to provide both engineering-grade data for tasks such as rock-block monitoring, analysis, and site resource management as well as a base data set to create virtual tourism and educational materials for public outreach and data dissemination.

For those who may not know, last May CyArk traveled to Rapid City to conduct digital documentation of the iconic sculpture in partnership with the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV) of Scotland, Respec Engineering, Wyss and Associates, and Hermanson Egge Engineering and All Metal Manufacturing, with additional support from Leica Geosystems. (Linked blogs about the initial field work are below.)

The initial data collection, however, was only the first step in the longer, five-year project. This trip we presented an update on data processing and analysis from our May 2010 data capture field project. We also presented the online database to be used for site managment by the NPS and for disseminating the amazing deriviates and historic media to the public via the web.


CyArk and the NPS also reviewed the agenda for this year (year three of the partnership) and the objectives for future years. We are now moving forward with our plans to bring new developments to both the CyArk Archive website and at the park itself through new educational materials and Visitor Center displays. Stay tuned for future updates!

A large focus for the trip was to conduct hands-on training with the NPS staff in CyArk's online database tool, SiteManager GIS. The training was designed to empower the park staff to take the digital preservation project's online dissemination of new and historic information to the next level of progress. Additionally they were trained in the new, robust, customized database CyArk is building with the park to become their central, geolocation, data management tool.

The senior staff at the park sat in on the initial training so as to know how to access and query information in the new database. Following the initial presentation, the site's interpretive team, lead by Ranger Blaine Kortemeyer, that got their hands dirty in SiteManager. The interpreation team learned how to add multimedia from their archive and geolocate it in the new system for the wider public to access. Once live on CyArk, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial digital preservation project will not only bring to the public the most accurate 3D model, but it will also provide access to historic images that have never before been shared with the public. Even some of the staff members had never seen the images before that afternoon. These previously unshared historic items are an incredible resource and CyArk is honored to share them with the people of the world.

The meeting with the NPS in South Dakota was great step forward as we move down the road of our historic 5 year collaboration. And although I've never been colder in my life than -15F every morning in Rapid City, seeing that beautiful mountain covered in snow was more than worth the aching hands, nose, and ears. I look forward to this year's progress and we look forward to bringing you Mount Rushmore as you've never seen it before!
Training NPS staff at Mt. Rushmore
Demonstrating CyArk's 3D point cloud viewer with a point cloud of Washington
The snow covered mountain as seen from the icy avenue of flags