Last week I took part in the 3D Digital Documentation Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana. Organized by The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) in partnership with Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Heritage Documentation Programs (NPS), the three day conference focused on advancing the use and understanding of various methods of digital documentation and capture of cultural heritage as well as addressing issues with long term storage.
I presented on the results of a grant that CyArk received from NCPTT to research and develop a prototype low cost heritage documentation kit to be used by heritage professionals around the world. The kit, which was deployed to three research centers for testing, included a digital camera, laser distance meter, tablet computer, GPS receiver, a compact tripod as well as video tutorials on how to digitally document a site and methods to upload the data to the internet. The inexpensive solution, under $1500, relied on advances in photogrammetry software combined with limited laser scan measurements to quickly and accurately document heritage sites thus requiring only moderate technical ability. One of the kits deployed to UNESCO is currently being employed in the Middle East.
Following the research completed for the kit around photogrammetry, CyArk was able to revamp its own heritage documentation methods. Attending the conference has shown me just how far the heritage community has come in the short time since we began developing the kit in 2015. A key component of the kit was its use of off-the-shelf components that could be easily obtained by anyone and the methods and take-away resources that can easily be adopted and referenced in the field. These two factors are currently driving our own process and shaping how we transfer knowledge to the local communities in which we work.
A big thank you to to the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training for their help in making this important work possible.
Please stay tuned as we continue to refine the results of the research generated from the kit development and publish our methods. In the interim, please check out these resources that have proven useful in refining our methods.