Sogi Power Plant

An early monument to Japan's industrialization


A field worker documents the Sogi Power Plant with laser scanning by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In December 2014, CyArk partnered with geopositioning manufacturer Topcon to document the Sogi Power Plant. The site was selected for digital preservation by Japan’s National Congress of Industrial Heritage in collaboration with the Japanese government to acknowledge the site’s importance to the history of Japan. The data CyArk collects was used to monitor the extent of damage caused by the periodic flooding of the site and has helped with long term conservation planning. This work was also used as part of the effort to nominate Sogi Power Plant as a UNESCO Industrial Heritage Site.

A view of the Sogi Power Plant by CyArkCyArk

Introducing the Sogi Power Plant

The Sogi Power Plant is located in the Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan, and was built in 1907 during a period of great cultural change in Japan. As the Edo period transitioned into the Meiji period, Japan was quickly industrializing and developing a wide range of technological innovations. As the demand for electricity increased, Coal became less economically feasible which led to the construction of many hydropower systems like the Sogi Power Plant. The dam was designed by entrepreneur Shitagau Noguchi, later dubbed the father of electrochemical engineering in Japan, to power the Okuchi gold mines. The Sogi power plant was active for nearly 60 years before frequent floods and demand for more electricity led to its replacement by the Tsuruda dam.

A view of the Sogi Power Plant, CyArk, From the collection of: CyArk
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A view of what remains of the interior structure and conservation efforts at the Sogi Power Plant by CyArkCyArk

Flooding and conservation

The Sogi Power Plant continued to supply electricity to the surrounding area until 1965, when the Tsuruda Dam was built downstream. The new dam was mainly built to prevent flooding, but its large power generation led to it replacing the Sogi Power Plant as the region’s supplier of electricity. As a consequence of this new construction, the river behind the Tsuruda Dam rises during the rainy season, submerging the Sogi Power Plant for months each year. The continuous flooding has taken its toll on the Sogi Power Plant and conservationists continuously struggle to combat collapsing walls and other forms of water damage.

Scaled map of Al Azem Palace with LiDAR documented areas in grey, and photogrammetry documented areas in yellow by CyArkCyArk

Summary of Data Captured

This project resulted in the following data which is now freely available for non-commercial use.

Areas with LiDAR documentation are indicated in grey. Areas with photogrammetry are indicated in yellow.

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Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:


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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.