Hi-tech scan could change face of city planning

A computer rendering of Charlotte Square which has been created as part of the CyArk project. Picture: contributed

A computer rendering of Charlotte Square which has been created as part of the CyArk project. Picture: contributed

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A DIGITAL model of Edinburgh which could have far-reaching effects on the way city planning is handled in future is being created by a team of scanners.

Key spots will be immortalised forever in 3D virtual reality by laser-toting experts whose hi-tech gear can create identical fly-through recreations of the city.

The hologram-like renderings of the city could be used to dictate future planning policy, said experts at not-for-profit CyArk, the international digital mappers behind the ground-breaking project.

One of their spokesmen said: “To date scans have been taken of most of the Royal Mile, Charlotte Square and other key buildings but work will 
continue.”

Edinburgh is one of ten sites across Scotland currently being scanned. Others include the historic Rosslyn Chapel and John Muir’s birthplace in 
Dunbar.

CyArk, which stands for Cyber Archive, aims to digitally scan every nook and cranny of approximately 500 sites across the globe.

The body was launched in response to the 2001 destruction of ancient Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Concerns the same fate could befall other historic sites through terrorism, natural 
disaster, or the ravages of time, kick-started the project.

The US-based body has since scanned the Parthenon in Greece, the ancient Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala and, most recently, Mount Rushmore for posterity.

Lynn Wilson, project manager for the Scottish Ten, which is being funded by the Scottish Government, said: “We have already scanned a number of buildings in Edinburgh but the diversity and scope of its architecture and landscape means it is very much an ongoing process, with scanning set to continue into 2014. The material generated by the project provides the basis for intricate 
digital reconstructions of these iconic and important sites and is used to help conserve 
and interpret the buildings, and in some cases the natural landscape, for future 
generations.”

Councillor Ian Perry, convener of the planning committee, is delighted. He said: “The models are extremely accurate and easy to understand.

“They will allow us to help better visualise how potential developments would fit into the world 
heritage site.”

BODY ELECTRIC

EXPERTS at Edinburgh University have created a 3D human body hologram that will be used to teach medical students.

The super realistic teaching aid could even remove the need for trainee doctors to be provided with teaching cadavers.

Viewed from different angles, the first-of-its-kind life-sized teaching device shows muscle structures, the skeleton, internal organs, blood vessels and nerves.

The female body is life size, standing at 5ft 6in, making it the largest anatomical hologram yet made.

It was produced in collaboration with city-based 3D firm Holoxica.