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Using lasers to make 3D models of California's missions




Perspective view of the facade at Mission Dolores created from laser scan data.
Perspective view of the facade at Mission Dolores created from laser scan data.
El Camino Real Program
Perspective view of the facade at Mission Dolores created from laser scan data.
CyArk scanning the facade at Mission Dolores
El Camino Real Program
Perspective view of the facade at Mission Dolores created from laser scan data.
Perspective view of the Reredos at Mission Dolores created from laser scan intensity and photo-textured data
El Camino Real Program
Perspective view of the facade at Mission Dolores created from laser scan data.
CyArk scanning Reredos Altar in Mission Dolores.
El Camino Real Program


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Lasers can do more than taunt your tabby: a California non-profit is using thousands of lasers to create 3D digital models of the 28 cultural heritage sites along the state's El Camino Real.

CyArk uses laser beams to measure these buildings down the millimeter. The information is then digitally archived and preserved. And because many of these structures run close to the San Andreas Fault, it's imperative to have that 3D rendering before the buildings become compromised.

RELATED: See more 3D images from the El Camino Real project

Justin Barton is a manager at CyArk, and he says that documenting these buildings have even helped discover a secret room in one of the missions.

With only 4 sites captured so far, she still expects the project to last 3 more years.