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  6. Preserving an Iconic "Gateway" of German Unity

In the midst of the 25th anniversary of German Reunification, the Brandenburg Gate has been digitally preserved through collaboration with Iron Mountain, CyArk, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, University of Stuttgart's Insitutite of Photogrammetry and Seagate Technology.

The “Brandenburger Tor” is an iconic, 18th century neoclassical, triumphal arch and one of the most recognized monuments across Europe. Berlin’s iconic landmark is the latest site in CyArk’s mission to digitally preserve 500 historic sites around the world and Iron Mountain has provided support for the capture, access and preservation of the digital data.

After World War II, Germany was divided into West and East Germany. The Berlin Wall was a barrier completely cuting off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. During this post-war Partition of Germany, the Brandenburg Gate was isolated and inaccessible immediately next to the Berlin Wall. When the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, the area around the gate was featured prominently in the media coverage as citizens flocked to it; some for the first time. Today, the Gate is a symbol of peace not only in Germany, but also is a sign of unity throughout all of Europe.

CyArk is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to use laser technology to create a free, 3D, online library of the world’s cultural heritage sites before they’re lost to natural disaster, destroyed by human aggression or worn away over the passage of time. They’ve committed to digitally preserving 500 heritage sites in five years. Our partnership helps to protect and store the data of each site. In this particular project, we’re funding the digital preservation of the Gate as part of our Living Legacy Initiative, as well as protecting, preserving and archiving the digital scans in Boyers, PA underground facility. Living Legacy is our company commitment to preserve cultural and historical information, world artifacts and treasures.

“We’re thrilled to once again partner with CyArk, this time to help preserve and protect one of the most iconic landmarks in German history,” said Hans-Gunter Borgmann, Iron Mountain’s Managing Director, Germany. “Growing up in post-war Germany, the Gate was inaccessible to many until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Everyone deserves equal access to the ideas and artifacts of our history, regardless of geographic and economic barriers. The opportunity to apply our information management and protection capabilities to fulfill CyArk’s mission of preserving cultural and heritage allows us to use our expertise and experience to help ensure landmarks like the Gate remain accessible to all forever.”

CyArk and its partners used laser scanning and the latest in reality capture technologies to create a hyper-accurate record of the Gate for use in ongoing conservation efforts and public education and interpretation. The scan results will be unveiled at CyArk’s Annual Summit at the Berlin State Library on October 19-21, 2015. At the same time, people around the world will be able to virtually explore the Gate online to learn about its history by viewing 3D models and videos.

“Digitally preserving the Brandenburg Gate is important because this structure is more than a municipal Monument, it is an icon of this city and country,” Elizabeth Lee, vice-president, CyArk. “The Gate’s scanning also contributes to the global conservation community that is working diligently to conserve the world’s heritage sites – especially in the Middle East, where hundreds of monuments are at risk of destruction.”

Once scanned, the imaging data – including data from the laser scan and photo, video, audio and metadata – is captured using Seagate storage solutions onsite and sent back to CyArk’s servers at its headquarters via an external hard drive. CyArk’s technical team can then access the raw data via CyArk’s onsite servers to render them into 3D images. Once complete, some of the data is kept onsite for quick access, while a “gold copy” of the 3D image is backed up to a tape and transported offsite to Iron Mountain.

Check out the video below to learn more about the Brandenburg Gate preservation and what it means to Iron Mountain.