About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

When is Heritage Worth Digitizing? Print E-mail
Written by Justin Barton   
Saturday, 08 March 2014

A 502Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

When an organization sets out with a mission to digitally document humanity's collective history of built heritage, that mission can get a little sticky, especially when qualifying "cultural heritage." CyArk is often asked what its criteria are for sites' inclusion in the digital heritage archive. Many surveyors and service providers have come to us with collected data or an interest in collecting data for a site of personal or local importance, but fear CyArk would be uninterested. After all, what constitutes "cultural heritage"? Wikipedia has a nice definition (one of my favorites). ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites, UNESCO's primary advisory council on heritage) has redefined its own definition several times since it first began categorizing and listing heritage in the 1960s. The US National Park Service defines historic sites to be included on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as being "at least 50 years old." But "heritage" does not only include the "historic." Cultural heritage is truly the legacy of the past--both tangible and intangible--as passed from generation to generation. That's a broad subject (and for this short piece we'll exclude the intangible). CyArk takes the position that heritage of all levels of significance are worthy of digital preservation. If a community feels a structure or site representing human activity is of cross-generational value and worth being maintained or remembered, then it is a piece of our collective cultural heritage worthy of digital preservation.

There are many examples of global digital preservation efforts that demonstrate a broad range of heritage typologies and significance. The Sydney Opera House is hailed as a modernist masterpiece, and it is also a mere 40 years old--falling a decade short of some definitions as noted above. Yet Australia has adopted the Opera House as its cultural icon, the way Egypt has the Pyramids and France the Eiffel Tower (it just happens to be a younger, but then so is modern Australia). Which is why, when approached by the Scottish Ten initiative, the Australian government wasted no time in nominating the Sydney Opera House as its site to be digitally preserved.

In contrast to the beloved Aussie icon, here in Oregon, the little-known Peterson Rock Garden has its own devotees. A quirky 4-acre garden of miniature castles, bridges, and other monuments built of rocks by a Danish immigrant beginning in 1935, the Peterson garden was recently under consideration for the NRHP. The Historic Preservation League of Oregon has been fighting for its protection and after some accidental damage in 2012, the League commissioned restoration work along with the recording of the rock garden with terrestrial LiDAR. In October 2013, the rock garden was listed on the National Register.

These are two very different sites, but each is deemed worthy of an immortal digital legacy according to the people who champion them as their heritage. And in the next "digital heritage" installment I'll discuss the surveying community's own cultural heritage: a historic survey site recognized by UNESCO for its scientific contribution to humanity.

Justin Barton is an archaeologist with a specialization in terrestrial LiDAR applications for cultural heritage conservation and management. Follow him on Twitter @JustinScans.

A 502Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


JAVAD Intros
Spoofer Buster

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax