First Minister sees Mount Rushmore in 3D

26 August 2010

                  3D image of Mount Rushmore

First Minister Alex Salmond today, (26th August,) came face to face with 3D replicas of Presidents Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt as he viewed the latest images from the Scottish team that are recording Mount Rushmore with digital technology.

The First Minister visited the Digital Design Studio at Glasgow School of Art to see the progress on the Scottish Ten project – a ground breaking partnership between Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art – to digitally record all five Scottish World Heritage Sites and five international sites, the first of which is Mount Rushmore.

Using cutting edge laser technology, the project will survey and interpret heritage structures in 3D and will provide - for the first time – a lasting, digital record of the country’s most important buildings. It also offers a new method for researching and conserving Scotland’s built environment.

The First Minister said:

“The Presidents’ heads of Mount Rushmore is a truly iconic site familiar to millions of people across the world. I am delighted that the Scottish Ten project is working to  assist with the preservation of this and many other historic monuments and sites, using Scottish innovation and skills.

“This ambitious collaborative project by Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art project showcases Scotland’s expertise in conservation and digital recording to an international audience. We hope that this five-year project will encourage the development of new international partnerships on the areas of culture, tourism and technology.

“The use of digital technology to capture the detail and design of Mount Rushmore has delivered truly impressive 3D images. I wish the team the best of luck with their next location in Orkney. This is a challenging and ground breaking project which encapsulates the innovation and ambition of Scotland’s creative industries.”

The Scottish Ten team worked with conservation and climbing experts from the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and local South Dakota partners as well as the California-based CyArk Foundation – with the mission of  "preserving World Heritage Sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies”.

Doug Pritchard of the DDS at The Glasgow School of Art said:

“It’s a tremendous honour to have the First Minister here at the Digital Design Studio. Our documentation of world heritage sites such as New Lanark and Mount Rushmore in collaboration with Historic Scotland has been and continues to be, challenging but exceptionally exciting. It means a lot to have such groundbreaking work recognised in such a significant way.”

The partnership between Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art Centre has resulted in the creation of the Centre for Digital Design and Visualisation LLP (CDDV) to carry out the work. As well as recording the Scottish Ten sites, the team will take on commercial projects to generate its own income. The CDDV has already completed its first commercial project – Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

Currently the team is working on the second Scottish site, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney WHS is made up of the chambered tomb of Maeshowe, the Stones of Stenness, the Barnhouse Stone, the Watch Stone, the Ring of Brodgar with its associated funerary monuments and stone settings and the Skara Brae settlement.

The other remaining four overseas sites have still be to selected and will fulfil Scottish Government International objectives in Japan, India and China, with a fifth site to be selected.

Follow the progress of the Scottish Ten online

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) most successful higher education institutions specialising in architecture, design and fine art.  It has an established reputation world wide for high quality education and search that is demonstrated by the outstanding successes of its students and graduates and the professional standing of its staff.  It is home to an international community of 1700 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying in the schools of Architecture, Design and Fine Art, or at the Digital Design Studio. For further information:

  • CyArk is a non-profit entity whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modelling, and other state-of-the-art technologies. For more information visit

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For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438