This year’s Virtual Heritage Network (VHN) conference in Cork did not disappoint me in any shape or form. This was my first time attending a VHN conference and it was a really enjoyable experience. The aim of this conference is a sharing of ideas and the exploration of interactive visualisation such as curation and data-management at home and abroad. The video below, which was presented by Geert Kessels & Pim van Bree (Lab1100) at the VHN conference is an example of an interactive visual data-set courtesy of Nodegoat. Nodegoat is a web-based data management, network analysis and visualisation environment, that allows one to instantly analyse and visualise datasets.
There were many interesting presentations which had themes such as 3D Modelling in experimental archaeology, interactive visual data-sets, and crowd-sourcing projects. The presentation that I particularly liked was project Mosul/or Rekrei which was started by Matthew Vincent & Chance Coughenour. The Rekrei project is an ideal platform for crowdsourcing the digital recreation
of artefacts, monuments and museums which have been damaged by human agency such as terrorism and natural disasters. These are then used to create 3D models/representations of objects/buildings to help preserve our shared cultural heritage throughout conflict and unstable regions. This project shares similarities with other projects such as the NewPalmyra project which also collects data, analyses it and shares the data in the public domain, with the sole aim of preserving heritage sites.
The next presentation that I really enjoyed was The Historic Graves Project, which was presented by John Tierney who is a field archaeologist with Eachtra Archaeological Projects. This particular project is a community based heritage project which digitally records and publishes historic graveyard surveys and stories. In a period of 6 years, they have catalogued and recorded eight hundred graves using 360˚ cameras that record the height and width giving 2D, and with an additional geo-tag location, GPS gives the 3rd dimension. The two most important tools used in the recording process are masking tape and a marker, which are used to number and record the headstones. According to Mr Tierney, the masking tape can withstand the elements, and remain on the headstone for up to a year. There is little doubt that this is a very low cost solution to the major problem of inadequate funding.
The most fundamental part of the project is reading and transcribing the gravestones, this process is done with a lenser p7 torch , which is pointed at the side to cast a shadow, thus making the reading process easier. This oblique lighting technique is similar to RTI (reflectance transformation imaging), it is usually used to show detail by creating shadows on the surface of an item.
The conference was really informative and left me with a lot of food for thought. Every project was really interesting and left a deep impression on me in terms of the technological benefits that can be gained from using these technologies. I look forward with huge anticipation to next year’s VHN Conference.