Make Your Own Emergency Heritage Recording Kit

Join the Digital Preservation Movement

by Scott Lee
September 21, 2016
Every day, historic and cultural sites of local, national and global significance are damaged or even destroyed. We can all do something to document these sites and share them with future generations.

Photogrammetry is an integral part of CyArk’s digital preservation process and it’s an easy skill to learn. If you’ve ever wondered how you can contribute to the CyArk archive, this is a fun way to help add to the map!
In partnership with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) and Iron Mountain, CyArk has developed a photogrammetry kit that YOU can use to document sites in your back yard or around the world!

Click here to download an Amazon shopping cart of all the items you will need to get started. You may have many of these items in your photography kit already. You will also need Agisoft Photogrammetry Software ($60 for an EDU license) or Autodesk REMAKE to process your photos.

Photogrammetry is an important part of CyArk’s Digital Preservation process. This easy photo-based documentation method allows anyone to capture measureable data through photographs—making it easier and cheaper to document sites than ever before.

At its most basic, photogrammetry is the science of using overlapping photographs to reconstruct three dimensional scenes or objects. While almost any camera can be used, a minimum resolution of 5 megapixels is a good rule of thumb. The better the camera, the more precise the results will be.

If you are unfamiliar with the process of photogrammetry, we recommend that you begin by familiarizing yourself with use of all kit equipment and reviewing the quick set up guide. You may want to reference this while watching the provided videos.

-Blank Metadata Form
-Metadata Form Example
-Quick Set Up Guide
-Amazon Shopping Cart

Video Links
-Set Up

As you watch the videos, follow along with your own equipment. Review the Quick Setup Guide and Metadata Form and practice filling it out for a couple objects you find nearby.

Practice the process from beginning to end on an object in your home or a structure in your neighborhood. Then, share your results with us through Sketchfab, Facebook or Email!

Do you have feedback for us about any of the materials here? Do you want to volunteer to translate printed materials or videos for users around the world? Please contact us!

While you are shooting, you may want to keep the following in mind:

-Use your tripod. It will help eliminate any shakiness.

-For small objects, you may want to use a turn table which will permit you to arrange your tripod and/or lights in a static location.

-It is best to avoid objects that are: untextured, completely flat, very thin, transparent, shiny, and/or reflective. Examples of difficult-to-capture objects include leafy plants, fur and hair, glass items, and shiny or sparkly objects.

-If you are shooting outside, pay attention to the effect of wind on your subject. If wind will move all or part of your subject, try to relocate to a more sheltered location or create a windbreak around the object. If the sun is creating harsh shadows or your subject is alternating in and out of shadow, try using a plastic sheet or sheer fabric to create shade for your subject.

-A cloudy day will offer the best environment for outdoor shooting.
Kit with quick start guide
Syrian team testing out the kit
CEMML team testing out the kit