Heroism in 3D: Shackelton’s Expedition Hut Archived

Whiskers and whiskey on the rocks. If this sounds like a good time in a backwoods’ lodge, you might be right. But there’s another, very interesting, association to be made.


Between the late 1800s and 1914, 17 expeditions organized by 17 different countries traveled to Antarctica tasked with recording data to gain an understanding of the continent. And on 19 October 1908, British explorer Ernest Shackleton, along with a three-man team, embarked on the Nimrod Expedition: an ambitious undertaking to be the first to reach Antarctica’s South Pole, fulfilling a number of scientific and geographical objectives along the way. However, the expedition failed after Shackleton made the responsible call to avoid putting his men’s’ lives at risk during extreme weather conditions. The whiskered team left the continent on 4 March, 1909. In the race to the South Pole, Shackleton was beaten by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, but he eventually returned to Antarctica for other expeditions before his death in 1922.


Now, almost a century later, CyArk has started to digitally record three Antarctic expedition huts: Scott’s Hut, Discovery Hut and Shackleton’s Hut. Due to the subzero conditions of the region, the structures are particularly well preserved. The huts served as base camps for a number of major expeditions at the beginning of the 20th century. Discovery Hut was actually built in Antarctica during the Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904, and upon the expedition’s return, was left fully stocked for future expedition parties. Scott’s Hut was prefabricated in the United Kingdom and transported by ship to the southernmost continent. Interestingly, the hut was insulated with seaweed and according to the members of the expedition, was actually “warm to the point of uncomfortable.”


Shackleton’s hut is not only known for its role as a shelter for the Nimrod expedition; it’s also famous for the fact that five crates of McKinlay and Co. whiskey were buried in the ice under the hut. Discovered in 2006, the liquor was of particular interest to distillers Whyte and Mackay because the blend is now extinct and with a sample, there is a possibility of recreating it.

So if you want to see how whiskered heroes of the early 20th century lived while on expedition, keep an eye on MacKay’s distillery, as well as CyArk’s website, where 3D recreations of the expedition huts will be available to the public after the project’s completion.

The Link Between Land Surveying and Animation Graphics



What do Monsters University and Boston College have in common? Or Turbo the super speedy snail and the Charles W. Morgan Whaling Ship? Or Finding Nemo and the Nantucket Marina?

At first glance, Hollywood movies and socially significant sites seem to be about as similar as Californians and New Englanders. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that both have been brought to virtual life by 3D modeling software such as 3ds Max and Maya. Animation studios and land surveyors both use these programs to process data and create accurate three-dimensional digital representations of imagined and real objects.

How 3D Modeling Software Works

Basically, these types of programs use nodes to create wireframes or networks of a subject. Then elements such as surfaces, textures and lighting are added to make the model an accurate visual representation of the subject. And lastly, a built-in camera sequencer lays out the desired number of camera shots and blends them into a single camera sequence.

In animated movies, animation artists generate nodes to create skeletons based on a character (such as Turbo) or world (such as Monsters University). Next, they add skins, liquids and textures to fill in the surfaces and finally, they create the actual moving scenes.


In land surveying, surveyors precisely measure existing sites and post-process the measurements in their 3D modeling software, where that data is processed into nodes and wireframes of the sites are generated. Surfaces and walls—sometimes with intricate molding—are modeled and ceilings are then put in place. Surveyors are also able to create highly accurate topographic models of the floors. In some cases, even the surroundings are reproduced to create settings for sites. Lastly, camera sequences are generated so viewers can move around, under, over and through sites. You can see many examples of this on our
3D animations page, where some of our most notable projects can be experienced.

So next time you’re watching Toy Story 3 or The Croods with your kids, remember the movie was made with the exact same software that preserves our most important landmarks for generations to come!

Scanning Historic Sites: The CyArk-Feldman Partnership


In March 2001, the world was shocked by a culturally devastating event. Citing idolatry as their reason, the Taliban destroyed the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan; 2000 year old monumental statues of Buddha that were carved out of the Bamwam valley’s rock. Historians, anthropologists and millions more were horrified by the act of destruction itself, as well as by the realization that the world’s most important heritage sites are not only vulnerable to erosion, weather and seismic events, but also to human aggression.

Two years later, CyArk was born. Founded by a group of dedicated preservation enthusiasts, the international non-profit organization’s mission is, “To ensure heritage sites are available to future generations, while making them uniquely accessible today.”

Using cutting edge technologies, CyArk creates 3D representations of culturally valuable sites. These models are collected in a free online library where, with an Internet connection, they’re easily accessible from anywhere in the world so everybody can experience them. Moreover, building an archive of accurate representations ensures that these sites will be virtually available to future generations, regardless of what happens. After recording sites like AngkorChichén Itza and the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, CyArk’s current projects include Ahu’ena HeiauIndependence Rock and the Sydney Opera House. With over 80 projects listed on their website, the organization is gradually creating a resource that will be valuable to mankind for years to come.


Recently, CyArk approached Feldman Land Surveyors to partner with them. Since our company has scanned many important sites in the US, CyArk envisions first and foremost obtaining our historic data. Furthermore, we’re discussing the possibility of working together to scan the entire Freedom Trail. Stay posted for news and updates as this exciting partnership develops!

What’s your favorite historic site? Have you visited it virtually? Tell us about your experience.