RCMP Schooner St. Roch to be Digitally Preserved

In July, Vancouver Maritime Museum will partner with CyArk and Absolute Space Engineering to digitally record the historic RCMP schooner, the St. Roch. Absolute Space Engineering will utilize the latest 3D imaging technology to scan the vessel as part of its nomination for the CyArk 500 Challenge.

CyArk is a non-profit organization with the mission of digitally preserving and freely sharing the world’s cultural heritage before it is lost to natural disaster, human aggression or the simple passage of time. CyArk captures rich 3D information from cultural heritage sites around the world and works with historians and educators to make that information available in a compelling way, all while utilizing immersive, 3D data and rich graphics to communicate the stories and significance of these sites.

The CyArk Archive now houses over 180 cultural heritage sites ranging from Rapa Nui and Pompeii to sites of more local significance like Wolf House, the historic estate of author Jack London or Beth Shalom Congregation, a Beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Synagogue in Pennsylvania. The data captured has been used for ongoing conservation projects and reconstructions. In 2013 CyArk launched the 500 Challenge, an initiative to digitally preserve 500 cultural heritage sites over 5 years. This is made possible by the support of local 3D practitioners like Absolute Space here in Vancouver whose expertise and passion for heritage is a real asset in the up-hill battle for preservation.

“We are grateful for the nomination of the St. Roch to be considered by the CyArk 500 Advisory Council as one of the 500 Heritage Sites in the World to be digitally preserved. The St. Roch is a very tangible piece of world history that celebrates a triumph over adversity in the far north. As Canadians we should all be proud of this opportunity.” Ken Burton, Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum said,

“The St. Roch’s 1944 voyage in the high arctic achieved something that explorers, of various nationalities, had been attempting for many centuries. Namely, to successfully navigate a deep-water Northwest Passage route across the top of the world.”

The St. Roch holds the distinction of being the first vessel to sail the Northwest Passage from west to east (1940-1942), the first to complete the passage in one season (1944), and the first to circumnavigate North America.

“We are delighted to add the historic St. Roch to the CyArk Archive,” said Elizabeth Lee, Vice President of CyArk, “500 sites is a monumental goal and we cannot do it alone. The contributions of firms like Absolute Space are an invaluable addition.”

“We are grateful to be able to contribute back to the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The St. Roch brought back many fond childhood memories and I can now forever share it with our three young boys and generations to come.” Said George Liu, P.Eng., Principal of Absolute Space.

The 3D scanning is accurate within millimeters, and will do a wonderful job of capturing everything from its custom dry dock to differing materials of construction, not to mention all of the interpretative possibilities for both on and off-site visitors, from virtual tours to interactive maps and educational activities. The scanning is set to take place over a number of days in July.

For more information about CyArk see their website and this great TED Talk.

Find out more about Absolute Space Engineering here.