Point of Beginning

CyArk Launches Digital El Camino Real de California Program

October 29, 2012


SAN FRANCISCO – Andrew Galvan, curator of Old Mission Dolores, San Francisco's oldest building, debuted CyArk's virtual tour and 3D visualization of the mission in San Francisco.  At a special event held to announce the launch of CyArk's Digital El Camino Real de California program, Galvan unveiled 3D animations and an interactive tour of the 200 year-old Mission Dolores. The launch attracted nearly 100 community leaders and program supporters from the San Francisco Bay Area, including individual program donors, university partners and board members from the California Missions Foundation and the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.

Mission Dolores is the first mission to be digitally preserved as part of CyArk's Digital El Camino Real de California program. California-based non-profit CyArk uses 3D technologies to accurately document, archive and disseminate important cultural sites around the world. The Digital El Camino Real program will use 3D technologies to document the 21 missions, four presidios and three pueblos along the route from San Diego to Sonoma. The project will deliver accurate documentation for conservation, virtual tours of the sites, educational materials and 3D visualizations.  Estimated at $1.5 million, the Digital El Camino Real de California project will take 3 years to complete; fundraising for this work is underway.

In addition to the new content for Mission Dolores, CyArk also launched an interactive map for El Camino Real de California. This map allows anyone with an internet connection to learn how the sites along El Camino Real de California developed.  Users can see how the Spanish established maritime routes to connect the presidios and missions in Alta California to ports in Baja California.

CyArk Executive Director Tom Greaves said, "CyArk's digital preservation methods not only make a compelling experience for 4th graders and grownups to learn mission history, they also support site conservation and management, engineering of seismic retrofits and new ways to engage the public to learn about California's rich Native American and Spanish history. We really appreciate the support of the individuals and organizations who bootstrapped the initial work."

Galvan said, "The partnership with CyArk has been an incredible fundraising tool for us; not only have we been able to document the mission, we have been able to secure additional funds for detailed conservation drawings and the creation of our first mobile app, which will help us to meet our commitment at Mission Dolores to tell the accurate history of the California Missions. Our educational goals at Mission Dolores are to keep our interpretive programs focused on the native peoples and rooted in academia."

The 3D visualizations and virtual tour of the mission went live on CyArk's website here.