Previously captured 3D images will be used to restore Notre Dame Cathedral after fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The reconstruction of Notre Dame will likely rely heavily on extensive laser scans of the structure, produced by art historian Andrew Tallon in 2015. The technology is also being used by Oakland-based nonprofit, Cyark with a mission to document cultural heritage sites around the world.

"It also brings into focus what we do and how important it is. We travel around the world scanning these sites and it's not always obvious how important that data is going to be until events like this happens," said John Ristevski, CEO of Cyark.

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Cyark was recently invited to scan the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, after the 2017 earthquake. Their scans show every inch of the church in great detail. It's the same process Tallon used when he painstakingly documented Notre Dame.

The device works like this - it bounces lasers off walls and objects in a room, and measures that in 3D space. The result is a 3D rendering of any structure, down to the millimeter. That 3D model can be manipulated in many ways, including producing engineering and architectural drawings.

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"Our process is kind of reverse engineering a building, from the 3D model we can produce engineering drawings that will tell you how the building came together," said Ristevski.

Every Cyark project requires at least $50,000 in funding. The fire in Notre Dame, proof that the return on that investment can sometimes be priceless.

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