- Client General Cooperation and Development Division (DGCS) of the Italian Foreign Ministry - General Division of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) of the Syrian Ministry of Culture
- Project Creation of a Cultural Heritage database and implementation of the GIS system for “Risk Mapping” of Syria's Arts Heritage
- Key Solution no
- Category Cultural Heritage
The main objective of the project was the development of an “all-round” management system for Syria’s cultural heritage, in order to integrate different information sources and enable information to be exchanged with other cultural bodies around the world. The core of the project was the development of the Cultural Heritage Database, which contains all the data relating to the items displayed at the National Museum in Damascus.
The objective of the GIS system was to cover all spatial information relating to the historical and geographical background of the objects in the museum.
It therefore operates at various territorial levels:
- on a national scale: used to analyse territorial risk and produce a “risk map” of the archaeological sites.
- at museum level: the Museum layout, used to locate items inside the rooms of the museum.
- on a local scale: collection of local maps (architectural data, positioning and dating of excavations, 3D land modelling) of a number of pilot sites for detailed analysis of those sites.
The project was developed by a team of GeneGIS GI experts and a team of local DGAM experts in a spirit of mutual collaboration and information sharing. A large group was present in loco to coordinate the work of the two teams and to share technical decisions and adapt them to the technical capabilities and skills of the local team.
The project employed a cascade methodology with a series of macro-phases, each one including specific activities to reach the planned objectives and deliver the requested products on schedule.
The macro-phases of fundamental importance for the development of the project were:
- Analysis of the current status and of requirements, with a study of the situation prior to start-up of the project on available data, software applications, hardware infrastructure, users’ domain knowledge, the needs of the various interlocutors (DGCS, DGAM, Damascus Museum, etc.).
- Design of the project components, including the data model to structure the cultural heritage database and related spatial data, analysis of the functional requirements of the requested applications, the hardware infrastructure and the overall architecture, plus development of a training plan for the local team.
- Implementation of the activities covered by the design project, including physical modelling of the database, data entry, development, personalisation and installation of the web platform. Roll-out of training.
The project involved the creation of the following elements:
- database to catalogue and archive the cultural assets of the National Museum in Damascus, organised in accordance with the CIDOC object-oriented conceptual reference model and UML standards to guarantee information sharing with other cultural bodies around the world;
- geographical database, integrated with the previous database and able to geo-reference assets in relation to the site of origin and the room in the museum where they are exhibited;
- methodologies and procedures for analysis of the vulnerability of the archaeological sites related to the items on display and production of a Risk Map of Syria’s Cultural Heritage;
- open-source WEB-GIS system for information sharing.
Four months of on-the-job training were organised to enable DGAM personnel to acquire the management skills, development and optimisation capabilities and specific expertise to assess risk and site vulnerability.
- The close cooperation between the GeneGIS GI team of IT and GIS experts and the DGAM team of archaeologists, GIS and IT experts facilitated acquisition of greater domain knowhow and development of a system to meet the needs of archaeologists, researchers, museologists, etc.
- A high level of complexity and completeness was achieved, particularly with regard to integration with the geo-spatial component, a feature not found on similar systems.