A new effort to digitally preserve the world's treasures is in the works. The CyArk Foundation plans to scan five hundred locations worldwide this year in an attempt to hold on to cultural treasures before they are destroyed by the passage of time. According to the official CyArk website, "We are on a mission to save these cultural heritage sites digitally before more are ravaged by war, terrorism, arson, urban sprawl, climate change, earthquakes, floods, and other threats. There isn't enough money or enough time to physically save every site, but we do have the 3D technology to digitally save these sites to make them available for generations to come."

CyArk joins a growing number of organizations around the world that are attempting to preserve history's treasures through digital scans. For CyArk founder Ben Kacyra however, the mission is a personal one. "I grew up in Iraq playing in the ruins of ancient Nineveh. With the increasing unrest in our world, I shudder to think of the perils that threaten the Assyrian Winged Bulls of my childhood, as well as the many other incredible heritage sites around the world," Kacyra said. "Just last year we were again reminded of the fragility of these sites when the Kasubi Tombs in Uganda were lost to fire. Although deeply saddened by this event, I was incredibly encouraged that the data within CyArk's archive could be used to help restore the tombs."

They CyArk project has been in the early stages of development for a while now but they plan to officially launch with a conference in London on October 20, 2013. The event is open to the public and speakers from the Smithsonian and Autodesk will be featured. They will also release a list of the first few locations they plan to digitally preserve.

Kacyra gave a TED talk where he discussed why the project matters so deeply to him and how it will be accomplished. You can take a look at that here: