Among hundreds visiting the Gateway of India daily, not everyone knows about the staircase on the inside leading to the roof, and a pathway close to the ceiling of each dome, accessible through a door. These lesser known sights may soon be viewed digitally if plans for a virtual tour of the structure are implemented.
CyArk, an international non-profit organisation based in California, USA, is working on digital scanning and archiving of the historic arch monument, whose final data of an accurate surface model will be submitted free of cost to the state Directorate of Archaeology and Museums for its own use. The project, presently underway and likely to be completed in two months, will collect data and images from the field and turn it into photo-real 3D models. The 3D models and architectural drawings can be used as a baseline to monitor the monument’s surface for future changes in its condition.
CyArk field director Christopher Dang said: “The monument is of historic significance given that it was built by the British to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city in 1911, and also used by the British to leave India after proclaiming it as a free country. While scanning the monument, we identified that the sea-facing side was more damaged than the other sides. Visual inspection also led us to observe different patterns and erosion. Our data will enable one to see how much of the structure has been potentially eroded away.”
The data is being collected with help of a scanner and over three to five thousand photos taken by drones of an Indian partner company. The digital surface model will enable a study of its geometric shape with nearly 100 per cent accuracy of minute dimensions, which can be replicated. The data will be in high resolution.
Director, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Dr Tejas Garge, told The Indian Express: “Our idea is to have data of contemporary existing structures in digital format to see what are the problems of conservation, do conditional mapping and take a call on its physical conservation. It can also be used for tourism…”