The recent fire at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro and the ravaging of monuments in Palmyra by the so-called Islamic State remind us that features of humanity's shared cultural heritage can be erased in an instant. An effort to digitally preserve what remains, Open Heritage is an open-access collection that allows users to take 3D tours of iconic locations from around the world. The effort uses laser scanning and photogrammetry to document and digitally reconstruct heritage sites and share them widely. On the page linked above, users can scroll to begin their digital journeys to sites such as Ayutthaya, Thailand's historic capital; the Temple of Apollo in Portara, Greece; the desert cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde; or the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Visitors can also watch videos explaining the project, read notes from the field workers who capture and digitize these places, learn about the technology deployed in digital conservation, and even download data to reuse and remix. Open Heritage is a production of Google Arts & Culture, in collaboration with CyArk and the University of South Florida Libraries Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections.
To see more sites chosen as the best of the year, please visit the Best of the Scout Report, or subscribe to the Scout Report to receive the next Best of edition, as well as a weekly update with a rundown of new top-quality online resources.
San Francisco's Exploratorium showcases the work of researchers at the Natural History Museum in London and Las Cuevas Biological Station in Belize, who are investigating the nature and diversity of life. From Jungle to Lab is part of the Exploratorium's Origin Project, created to explain how scientists explore "the beginnings of the universe, of matter, of the earth, and of life itself." This well-designed Web site contains loads of multimedia features, such as a slide show of Las Cuevas (including a 360 view of the biological station), video and audio clips of researchers explaining their work, Web casts, and much more. The contents of this site are thoughtfully organized and skillfully presented. For example, the section titled Ideas appears as a virtual field notebook, each page addressing a different aspect of evolutionary mechanism for biodiversity. In all, this is a fantastic Web site that is worth a visit for design features alone, if not the enlightening content.
For more high-quality STEM resources, please visit AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository.
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