Topcon Tech Used to Digitally Preserve Japanese Heritage Site

July 13, 2015  - By


Data from Topcon’s participation in the digital preservation of the historic Sogi hydroelectric plant in Japan was unveiled at a special event in Bonn, Germany, in conjunction with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meetings, held June 15-25. The committee examined proposals to inscribe 36 properties on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

SOGI_2_Topcon-WLocated in Isa, the Sogi power plant was constructed in 1909. At its height, the hydroelectric plant generated 6,700 kW of power. The Sogi plant closed in 1965 with the construction of the larger Tsuruda dam downriver. The new dam caused Sogi to flood seasonally, endangering the unique representation from the Meiji industrial revolution. 

Considered a significant contribution to the Meiji industrial revolution, the plant was mapped as part of the CyArk 500 Challenge — an international project to digitally preserve and create awareness of some of the world’s most significant cultural heritage sites.

The Sogi site was recorded in 3D by an international team using the latest Topcon geopositioning technologies including the GLS-2000 scanner, the IP-S3 mobile mapping system, and aerial mapping solutions.

“We are proud to have provided our technology and resources to the Sogi project,” said Eduardo Falcon, Topcon executive vice president and general manager of the GeoPositioning Solutions Group. “As a global company headquartered in Japan, we particularly understand the importance of this site and appreciate the CyArk efforts to digitally preserve it for future generations. The Sogi hydroelectric plant was a pinnacle of the industrial ingenuity of the period, and we are honored to have this opportunity to link our technology with the technology of the past.”

The National Congress of Industrial Heritage, in collaboration with the Japanese government, nominated the Sogi plant to the CyArk 500 Challenge in December of 2014. Topcon teamed with CyArk and the National Congress to develop a three-dimensional map of the site for future preservation and visualization.

CyArk archived the captured data and used it to build an interactive online map of the site to promote the preservation and study of Japan’s industrial heritage.

“We are very excited for the digital preservation of the Sogi hydroelectric plant,” said Ben Kacyra, CyArk founder. “The CyArk 500 strives to connect the international heritage community in an effort to preserve and experience incredible places in a way previously impossible.”


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About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.