Alice BIANCHI1/ Tobias TONNER2 / Lucie DINGWALL3
(1Qatar Museums Authority, Department of Archaeology, Architectural Conservation & Cultural Tourism / 2coaptics ltd., Talgarth Wales / 3University of Birmingham, UK)
Qatar, like several other countries in the Gulf region, is experiencing very rapid and extensive urban development that constitutes a serious challenge for the institutions and entities in charge of cultural heritage management at a national and regional level. This paper illustrates procedures, tools and solutions that are being developed in Qatar to effectively undertake the tasks of documentation and protection of cultural heritage in a rapidly changing environment.
Through the integrated application of diverse and complementary technologies like textual information stored in dynamic database modules and remote sensing and geophysical data in GIS-systems, we are designing an effective and sustainable tool for heritage, conservation and cultural tourism managers, allowing them to make informed decisions, evaluate resource allocations and to perform strategic planning, all in the context of the protection and promotion of terrestrial and submerged heritage assets.
To deliver the technical solution, we are making use of the latest Open Source web technologies and have designed a custom application tailored to the exact needs of the cultural heritage managers in Qatar. At the core of the system is a spatial database which can be accessed via a range of standards compliant web services (REST, WMS, WFS), allowing a variety of applications and corporate systems to interact with the data. To date we have developed two clients, a highly intuitive, bilingual desktop web application which is used to manage the heritage dataset and a mobile web app for surveying heritage in the field. We are now working on additional interfaces for conservation, object registration, excavation, general administration and the promotion of cultural tourism and together these will form a unified and integrated system covering all aspects of cultural heritage management in Qatar.