Sustainable Preservation Initiative Announced as On the Ground Partner for GlobalXplorer!

New and Looted Archaeological Sites to be Discovered via Satellite

SPI will investigate Sites and Protect Them


The Sustainable Preservation Initiative will serve as on-the-ground partner in Peru for Dr. Sarah Parcak’s new citizen science platform: GlobalXplorer. GlobalXplorer is an online, citizen science, crowdsourced platform that will utilize satellite imagery to find, monitor, and protect archaeological and cultural sites. It is the result of her 2016 TED Prize, and she built it in partnership with TED, the National Geographic Society, and DigitalGlobe. SPI, which was founded by archaeologist Dr. Larry Coben, will serve as GlobalXplorer’s on the ground partner in Peru, the first country for the program, investigating the sites identified by the satellites and protecting them.

Archeologists have explored less than 10% of the earth’s surface. Great swaths of our human story (fantastic structures; hints of the origins of religion, theater and civilization) are yet to be discovered. The obstacles to discovery are many, but a primary issue is that sites are obstructed by dirt and sand. GlobalXplorer, with the help of DigitalGlobe’s fleet of satellites, realizes Dr. Parcak’s vision of a 21st army of global explorers, working together to discover new heritage sites by using satellite imagery and complex algorithms to discern slight differences in topography, revealing lost settlements, roads, and much more. Anyone around the world can help by signing up with GlobalXplorer and examining the more than 200,000km2 of high-resolution satellite images of Peru

The Sustainable Preservation Initiative (SPI) will serve as the GlobalXplorer official in-country heritage partner in Peru. SPI will lead on-the-ground efforts to investigate and preserve endangered sites identified on the GlobalXplorer platform, while implementing its renowned capacity building program by training locals – mostly women – in essential business skills to leverage their cultural heritage for economic gain, without destroying it. As well, SPI will coordinate other education and research initiatives and advise GlobalXplorer with respect to archaeological and heritage matters in Peru.

A video of Larry discussing SPI and GlobalXplorer on WSJ Live is available here.

In addition, Dr. Luis Jaime Castillo, renowned Peruvian archaeologist and SPI's Vice President for South America, will serve as Parcak's co-principal investigator with respect to GlobalXplorer in Peru.

Dr. Larry Coben, SPI’s founder and Executive Director, says, “We are thrilled that these organizations are joining us to empower communities with the tools they need to thrive economically. This partnership, launching in Peru, marks the beginning of a powerful, worldwide collaboration to scale SPI’s proven track record of alleviating poverty and preserving the past.” He continues, “SPI will ensure that any discoveries empower locals, the majority being women, to benefit economically and otherwise from their own heritage.”

The potential for additional discovery in Peru is great. Peru has been home to numerous cultures over the past 5,000 years and there are still many unanswered questions. From the mysterious Nazca Lines (huge figures in the desert only visible from space), to the origins of Machu Picchu, SPI, the GlobalXplorer team, and all citizens on the platform will be in for an adventure!                                                        

About the TED Prize:

The first TED Prize was awarded in 2005, born out of the TED Conference and a vision by the world's leading entrepreneurs, innovators, and entertainers to launch a global project that marries the recipient’s “wish” with TED’s global community.

What began as an unparalleled experiment to leverage the resources of the TED community has evolved into a $1 million award and an ambitious effort to spur global-scale change.

From Bono's the ONE Campaign ('05 recipient) to Jamie Oliver 's Food Revolution ('10) to JR's Inside Out Project ('11), Sugata Mitra’s School in a Cloud (’13), Charmian Gooch’s call to eliminate anonymous corporations (’14), and StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay’s (’15) wish to take the platform global, the TED Prize has helped to combat poverty, take on religious intolerance, improve global health, tackle child obesity, advance education, and inspire art around the world.