The use of satellite imagery for cultural, conservation and communication purposes has long been a goal within archaeology and landscape studies. New possibilities have been raised in recent years through the development of high-resolution satellite systems and other forms of "aerial' recording such as thermal imaging, airborne radar and laser scanning or lidar.
Lidar in particular enables precise digital models of the earth's surface and, given appropriate manipulation, can even "see through the trees' to previously hidden cultural landscapes and archaeological sites beneath. The cost of commissioning lidar or satellite imagery, however, has limited its use within the heritage field. Meanwhile, regional authorities and utility bodies across Europe have been adopting lidar as their preferred method for mapping and landscape modeling.
As a result they now hold an extensive range of lidar data, of great potential for landscape and archaeological studies. Considerable technical expertise, however, is required to process the raw data for heritage purposes. The project will therefore support experimentation and skill-sharing amongst partners who can gain access to lidar and satellite imagery or who have already used it for cultural purposes. Concentrated efforts will be made to secure the release lidar and satellite data originally commissioned for non-heritage purposes.
Techniques such as lidar and satellite imaging will strike a chord with the younger generation, whose imagination can often be captured by seemingly 'magical' new technologies. The project's communication strategy will draw on this potential for engaging with this readily approachable target group.
The project will explore the opportunity for presenting its results through Internet-based geographical systems such as GoogleEarth, enabling computerate sections of the community, for instance, to observe and even "fly through' heritage landscapes throughout Europe which would previously have been virtually inaccessible to them. These issues will be discussed among the partners during 5 technical meetings scheduled from 2010 to 2015.
Working Package leader:
Jorg Bofinger (State Heritage Council Esslingen)