Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development vol:2 issue:2 pages:130-152
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the application of documentation and recording techniques for World Heritage conservation using the case studies of the Petra Archeological Park (PAP) in Jordan and the Silk Roads Cultural Heritage Information System (CHRIS) in Central Asia. In the PAP case study, these techniques could aid in the assessment of risks faced by World Heritage properties and threats to the integrity of the Outstanding Universal Values (OUV). With respect to the Silk Roads CHRIS case study the Geospatial Content Management System (Geo-CMS) proposed aims to improve information management and collaboration among all stakeholders.
Design/methodology/approach – Integrated surveying techniques and information management systems together with active stakeholder participation can be used as conservation and management tools. In the case of PAP, using a systematic documentation tool (MEGA-J) to conduct site condition and risk assessment of cultural heritage and combining photographs, maps and GPS measurements within a GIS platform allows for identifying the location and intensity of risks, and the degree of vulnerability within the PAP boundaries and buffer zone. In the Silk Roads CHRIS project the Geo-CMS brings together data from different fields, e.g. geography, geology, history, conservation, to allow for a holistic approach towards documentation, protection and management of a number of diverse sites to be combined in serial transnational World Heritage.
Findings – The study provides insight into how digital technologies can aid in heritage documentation and conservation, including stakeholder involvement and training. Moreover, by means of the two case studies it can be shown that a combination of digital technologies allows for an efficient mapping of buffer zones and risks and how a Geo-CMS can form a common platform to manage large quantities of information of different origin and make it accessible to stakeholders in transnational projects.
Originality/value – This paper discusses the use of digital technology and the participation of stakeholders in heritage conservation and documentation when dealing with complex World Heritage properties, e.g. serial transnational and archaeological ensembles at high risk.