Mount Rushmore Project Launch
Bookmark and Share

Taline Ayanyan
Production Supervisor

CyArk and the National Park Service Launch the Mount Rushmore web portal, allowing visitors to explore an online virtual 'tour' and gain access to 3D models created from laser scanning

Mount Rushmore Project Launch
The terrestrial laser scanners used by the scanning team capture millions of data points to create a dense point cloud rendering of the entire mountain sculpture at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Mount Rushmore Project Launch
Al Rawlinson from the Glasgow School of Art prepares the Leica Scanstation 2 to scan Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Photo by Amy Bracewell, NPS.
Mount Rushmore Project Launch
The technical ropes team at Mount Rushmore National Memorial prepare a custom made tripod used on the sculpture to capture accurate scanning data of the faces. Photo by Amy Bracewell, NPS.
The National Park Service and CyArk are extremely excited to kick off the new year with the launch of the much anticipated Mount Rushmore Website, a new way to virtually visit the National Memorial near Keystone, South Dakota. This web portal is part of an ongoing partnership between the National Park Service and CyArk, and it will be continually added to as more media is created over the upcoming months.

"The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt." – Sculptor, Gutzon Borglum

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. Over the decades, Mount Rushmore has grown as a symbol of America - a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

In May of 2010, the NPS collaborated with the Kacyra Family Foundation and CyArk, and a Scottish Team from the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (a partnership between Historic Scotland and the Glasgow School of Art) to digitally preserve Mount Rushmore. CyArk founder, Ben Kacyra, said: “It is an honor for our organization to digitally preserve such an important monument to the American spirit for generations to come. The CyArk website gives free access to users across the globe, allowing them to experience Mount Rushmore alongside other culturally significant world heritage sites.” The laser scanning project also owes its success to the important contributions from Respec Engineering, and Wyss and Associates, who worked to develop a geo-referenced control network that was used to tie all the laser scan data together. Doug Pritchard, Head of Visualisation at the GSA’s Digital Design Studio, said: “The documentation of the Mount Rushmore National Monument was a tremendous privilege, in particular working with the local survey organisations, Leica Geosystems, the US Parks Ropes Team and CyArk."

One of the first digital documentation projects on such a scale, it was a momentous collaboration for all the project partners. For the Scottish partners, Mount Rushmore was the first of five international heritage sites to get laser scanned as a part of their Scottish Ten initiative. Scottish Cabinet Secretary of Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “I am really thrilled that the work done by the Scottish Ten team is being used in such a wonderful way. Mount Rushmore was the first international site that the Scottish Ten project tackled and I know that it is still regarded as setting the bar really high in the standard of the work being carried out and the innovation in getting all of the data required."

The entire sculpture and majority of the public park grounds were laser scanned and photographed to capture the Memorial and create a highly-accurate digital model. The digital information gathered is being used to create media for physical preservation work, education, and virtual tourism. “With this innovative web portal, internet users around the world will be able to remotely access the Memorial, whether it is to plan a visit or to virtually explore unusual areas such as the Hall of Records,” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier.

From the project's main page, users have access to an array of rich multimedia including an interactive virtual tour of the park, navigable and measurable “point cloud” models, and a large collection of current-day and historic photographs (some of which were never before released to the public). The web portal is only the beginning of an ongoing partnership between NPS and CyArk. Upcoming releases will include an on-site exhibit at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center where visitors can learn about the digital preservation process, see the equipment used as part of the laser scanning project, and explore the virtual tour and digital archive. In addition, a collection of ten K-12 lesson plans will be available for download and use in the classroom. These lesson plans were developed during an education workshop bringing together the expertise of local high school math and art educators, NPS, and CyArk. Stay tuned for an update blog when the lesson plans become available online by registering for the CyArk Newsletter or following us on Twitter and Facebook!

Please Click for PDF's of the official Press Releases from the National Park Service and Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art.


January 16th, 2012 bill THORSON said:
thank you,
January 21st, 2012 Steve Hornby said:
This is such a fantastic use of technology! This initiative combines generosity, history, art, science... and people!

Keep up the great work.


January 24th, 2012 Peter said:
Mount Rushmore is in Google Earth, along with a model of the Avenue of the Flags.
January 24th, 2012 Bradley Smart said:
January 25th, 2012 Marcos Vidal said:
Congratulations! God bless!
January 31st, 2012 Deb Conley said:
It's fantastic to know that technology can be use to represent a possible future that leverages the past to show a way forward.
Well Done! DOn't stop learning!
September 17th, 2012 Tracy Slack said:
My Dad, John Haines used to own the Tramway that led up to Mount Rushmore. It really is amazing to see all the changes over the years. Very beautiful place.

Add Comment


 Email will not be displayed publicly

Add Comment:

Comments will not display until they are approved by CyArk staff

Enter Security Code:

While we generally try to approve as many comments as possible, any comments that contain profanity, are abusive, or are off topic will not be approved. We do not edit comments to meet approval. All links/urls entered will automatically be formatted to be a clickable link with an ref="nofollow" attribute inserted.

Related Projects

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Related Articles

CyArk Receives International Press in The Scotsman CyArk Receives International Press in The Scotsman - July 2nd, 2009
Rapid City Journal Reports on CyArk's Mount Rushmore Plans Rapid City Journal Reports on CyArk's Mount Rushmore Plans - July 3rd, 2009
National Parks Traveler Reports on CyArk's Plans to Digitally Map Mount Rushmore National Parks Traveler Reports on CyArk's Plans to Digitally Map Mount Rushmore - July 5th, 2009
Mt. Rushmore Selected to be First International Project in Scotland 10 Mt. Rushmore Selected to be First International Project in Scotland 10 - July 6th, 2009
Mount Rushmore to get Laser Treatment Mount Rushmore to get Laser Treatment - July 29th, 2009
AOL News Features CyArk's Planned Digital Preservation of Mt. Rushmore AOL News Features CyArk's Planned Digital Preservation of Mt. Rushmore - August 1st, 2009
CyArk Rushmore Project Featured in UK Guardian and New Zealand Herald CyArk Rushmore Project Featured in UK Guardian and New Zealand Herald - August 24th, 2009
CyArk and Partners Featured on New York Times Front Page CyArk and Partners Featured on New York Times Front Page - November 6th, 2009


Related Documents

National Park Service Mount Rushmore Press Release - January 10th, 2012 222Kb
Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art Mount Rushmore Press Release - January 16th, 2012 125Kb


More News

Rosslyn Chapel Educational Content Now Available - August 28th, 2014
Japan selected as fifth & final international site for innovative Scottish Ten - August 11th, 2014
Speaker Preview: CyArk 500 Annual Summit - July 31st, 2014
Justin Barton to chair Technology Center Board - July 29th, 2014
American Students Help Preserve Italian Heritage - July 23rd, 2014