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Project stores 3D images of world historic sites in limestone mine

Lucas Mearian | April 3, 2013
The images offer precise 3D depictions of historic sites

CyArk decided to switch its archive strategy to magnetic tape and purchased a tape carousel that used the linear tape file system (LTFS) open format to record the images. It has also partnered with Iron Mountain to store those images in perpetuity in the company's limestone mine storage facility in Pennsylvania.

"We compared the cost of tape with spinning disk and even the cloud, and it's one-tenth to one-fifteenth the cost," Greaves said. "We do store some of our data in the cloud, like the images that are available to the public."

Greaves said changing to tape has also addressed latency and availability issues. CyArk makes two copies of its data, one to a tape drive it stores locally, and the other that gets shipped off to Iron Mountain's underground storage facility. Greaves said the locally stored tape drives can be accessed for restoration in less than 24 hours. "And frankly, we don't need 50 millisecond recovery time for most data we use," he said.

CyArk's website has been relatively popular, with 1.5 million hits since going live. CyArk also has an iPad app for viewing the historic sites.

"Visitors to our website can navigate it in 3D," Greaves said.

The website also provides a historic tour of sites, such as the Japanese-American confinement camps that were set up in California during World War II.

"If you visit the sites today, there's not a lot to see, but with our technology today, those camps are recreated the way they were in 1943," Greaves said. "We also worked with Japanese-American societies and captured audio histories. These sites are at risk from earthquakes, wars, acts of terrorism, floods and fires. We think it would be a tragedy for humans to forget where they came from."

 

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