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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Survival of heritage resources through digital technology

By Odutola Christian Amans


Heritage resources are priceless irreplaceable possession passed on to us from our progenitors. They bear exceptional testimonies of forefather’s creative ingenuity that we use as reference in addressing human present day challenges.
Preserving their values and physical attributes using digital technology cannot be overemphasized.
Digital technology has changed the narrative of the way these heritage resources are being preserved and communicated to the public by all relevant stakeholders.
In the area of immovable heritage like cultural landscape and sites documentation, GPS and GIS have become the norm for surveying heritage site. This technology has found replacement for pegs, lines, pencils and paper which has hitherto been used for documentation purposes.
The GIS databases have enabled the efficient collation and combination of survey and documentation data, allowing easy linkage between geographical, quantitative, and qualitative dataset.
Subsequently, image based modeling has enhanced historical architectural documentation process in both plan and profile, facilitating production of these properties structural information in both 2d and 3D that present them in ways that are scalable, navigable and detailed.
This technical advancement has undoubtedly improved the quality of our heritage resources documentation process which has been very much in focus in this era of coronavirus pandemic. The tradition of working from home, meeting, conferences, and engagement with the public has also gone digital, weakling social link among primary stakeholders. This has made videos and post on social media prevalent.
Digital documentation of heritage resources provides access to digital data for researchers, digital story telling for visitors, and digital education for young people. Documentation is not only a practical field but it’s a science with multi-disciplinary approach based on large set of collected and sorted data.
Digital story telling is the most important approach of modern heritage interpretation which allows visual experience in the traditional narrative. There is the new development that young generation should be the focus during the process of visitors’ engagement where they would recognize the values of heritage using their own digital means.
This technical advancement offers visitors live experience which guiding them through cultural landscape with the aid of multimedia, using digital reconstruction to bring modern history back to life.
Digital documentation enhances heritage site and experimentation of innovation and inclusive forms use through the application of technologies and digital tools to recreate a 3D model and communicate its long history to a heterogeneous public.
Digital technology are a fundamental tool for bridging the gap between the past and the present, because they allow in the face of an accurate study that must be carried out by professionals, to make the traces of the past legible to all. In this time of pandemic, digital technology can be a way of bypass direct interaction with sites and monuments and continue to involve the public.
The challenge for the future is certainly great. It is obvious that if digital technology is used wisely, it can ideally have a timely enormous potential.
Digital technology is giving us large possibilities in heritage presentation as well as preventive preservation. It helps to preserve cultural heritage through digitization, interpretation of cultural heritage and audience development, above all to younger population without the usage of digital technologies is practically unthinkable in the near future. The pandemic forced most content to be digitalized and made communicating with digital platforms, which has opened new horizon, opportunities and showed direction for the future.
Odutola writes from National Museum, Akure

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