Mount Rushmore’s famous faces

Crews using lasers are creating a three-dimensional digital scan of the four presidential faces and other features of the Mount Rushmore National Monument for historic documentation and preservation.

National Park Service spokesman Nav Singh said the 3-D modeling also will allow virtual tours of the monument.

“This has tremendous potential for education and it’s really exciting stuff,” he said. “We finally have a way to help children see what an 18-foot mouth or a 20-foot nose looks like from a bird’s eye view.”

Singh said the laser-scanning project at the granite monument began on May 8 and is slated to wrap up this weekend.

The work is being done by the National Park Service and CyArk, a nonprofit project of the Kacyra Family Foundation based in Orinda, Calif. The Scottish government is providing resources and technology to perform the 3-D laser documentation, Singh said.

The Kacyra Family Foundation was formed to foster humanitarian, cultural and scientific endeavors, and says it is committed to preserving world heritage. Ben Kacyra, who heads the foundation, immigrated from Iraq in 1964.

“Being an immigrant, the monument is a symbol that I cherish,” he said. “It’s a symbol for the U.S. and a symbol for the world.”

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