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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CI PA 2003 XIX"' International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalva, Turkey
essary. In such scales, orthophotos lose their readability and it
is more efficient to use topographic maps as background. In this
way, signature maps have been elaborated which show the ksar
as point symbols and the colors correspond to the degree of
occupation. In a similar way, the most important ethnic groups
which have lived in the ksour are shown (cf. Fig. 4). It is
remarkable to realize that for example ksour with arabophile
inhabitants are much stronger fortified if in the neighboring
villages we find a berberophile population. Very often the main
ethnic groups are Drawa, but which adopted Arabic on the one
side and the Berber language on the other. The maps are pre
sented with the means of MicroStation and MGE, but were
however elaborated with a special computer program in Visual
Basic after the corresponding queries from the MGE databank.
It is obvious that a great number of presentations can be elabo
rated in this way, which is not yet exhausted by far.
Fig. 4. Location of the ksour with indications of the ethnic
origin of the population
5.3 Slide Show and Image Database
As already indicated, the photographic documentation of the
historical monuments is of great importance for the inventory.
In this context it is relatively easy to create a slide show with
the help of HTML, the standard Internet language. Although
such a predefined show might appear at a first glance to be
quite worthwhile it proves not to be very useful for detailed and
comparative analyses. For such analyses, one wants to call up
the different images according to well-defined queries, imply
ing the use of a database. Furthermore, an individual image
does not help very much if one cannot simultaneously see the
surroundings of the photographer's standpoint as well as some
written explanation. These requirements can be met quite well
using an Internet browser and Javascript.
We initially conceived a standard layout for the image presen
tation (cf. Fig. 5) which not only shows the photographic image
itself, but also a plot of the ksour completed with the route of
the photographer which also enables one to recognize the
neighboring objects along with the images. All locations from
which images were taken are indicated and can be clicked on.
Furthermore, we show the orthophoto of the ksour and, in the
case of buildings, their plot. Considerable attention is also
devoted to the description of the image content, while thematic
corresponding images are shown as thumbnails in a lateral
field. The goal is to create in this way an image documentation
that matches the various requirements.
Fig. 5. Layout of the slide show with additional information
about the photographer’s stand point and the neighboring
The elaboration of an inventory of cultural heritage is a very
important step towards a better understanding of a culture and
promotes the conservation and the revitalization of these testi
monies of the past. In principle, such an inventory may appear
to be a purely technical operation, since the management of the
data in a modern geographic information system allows one to
visualize the data and to perform the necessary analyses. How
ever, such an approach would mean that access to the informa
tion of the inventory would be limited to a small circle of ex
perts. Access is relatively difficult and hardly fulfills the func
tion of providing a large circle of professionals with the op
portunity of contributing to the conservation and revitalization
of the monuments. Neither would the knowledge on the possi
bility of the interconnection of information help very much. It
is much wiser to place simple means at the disposal of inter
ested users so that they can easily use the inventory to visualize
data and images and draw their personal conclusions. For the
presentation of the inventory of the historic monuments of
Morocco, we developed a simple mechanism enabling queries
from the database and visualization of the images by simply
storing the data on CD-Rom and using an Internet browser to
operate it. The approach currently being developed appears
liable to satisfy these demands. It is however clear that further
discussions are still necessary to refine its final form.