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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Salim Elwazani
Architecture & Environmental Design Studies Program,
College of Technology, Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-USA; Email: selwaza@bgnet.bgsu.edu
KEY WORDS: method, performance, user, heritage recorders, integration, selection, measured surveys
There are challenges surrounding the planning of field measured surveys for graphical documentation of heritage buildings. The
survey teams’ technical know-how of different survey methods is undoubtedly important, but more so is the survey planners’ ability
to select appropriate survey methods for diverse survey projects. In response to the selection challenge, this paper is aimed at
devising a performance-based procedure for evaluating—and ultimately selecting—measured survey methods. Consisting of data
collection and data processing function, the devised procedure design builds on performance of survey methods in accuracy,
thoroughness, and rate; the contextual conditions of the documentation subject; and the project situation requirements imposed by the
purpose of survey, significance of the structure, and urgency of documentation. The procedure’s principal merit lies in its potential
as a guiding instrument for planning field measured surveys.
Those of us who are in the business of heritage documentation
wonder at times if the projects we are entrusted with are carried
out to our own satisfaction, let alone to the satisfaction of the
client. This kind of speculation has undoubtedly invigorated the
current wave of re-examining the relationship between
providers and users (LeBlanc, 2002; Letellier, 2002), the
counterpart players of the documentation undertaking. Of the
hoard of motives for re-examining such relationship, two come
readily to mind: first, users are entitled to quality products;
second, providers are expected to take advantage of
professional opportunities.
There are ways to enhance the players’ relationship in the
documentation undertaking. In measured surveys, the form of
documentation of interest for this study, this can be done
through improving the decision-making practices of survey
method selection. The assumption is that sound decision
making practices lead to “appropriate” method selection. Why
and how does a heritage survey team or a governmental
documentation program arrive at a decision to use a specific
survey method from an array of methods? The scope of this
study falls in line with the theme of this method selection.
This study recognizes a decision making process for selecting
measured survey methods for heritage buildings. This process
builds on three aspects of the documentation situation: a)
performance of survey methods in accuracy, thoroughness, and
rate; b) the contextual conditions pertaining to the
documentation subject, such as complexity of building
surfaces; and c) the project requirements emanating from the
purpose of survey, significance of the structure, and urgency of
documentation. A published paper (Elwazani, 2002) of the
author has addressed some features of the method selection
process. It specifically investigates the effect of the contextual
conditions on the performance of measured survey methods.
That study ended with establishing a set of standards for
evaluating such effect.
Building on the results of the above paper, this study aims at
devising a procedure for evaluating the performance of
measured survey methods-—into which the developed
performance standards are integrated.
The undertaking involves laying out the basis for the procedure
and describing the procedure’s data collection and data
processing functions. Accordingly, the rest of this paper
discussion is organized under the following headings:
Basis for the procedure
The procedure’s data collection function
The procedure’s data processing function
As a background for this study, this section draws heavily on
the results of the previous paper. However, this discussion
goes beyond that and presents new information needed to pave
the way for the procedure’s data collection and data processing
functions. The discussion here is organized under the
subheadings “Survey Project Situation” and “Performance
2.1 Survey Project Situation
2.1.1 Basic Elements. A field measured survey project has
the following interrelated elements:
o Survey subject: A building in its entirety is the
documentation subject. However, because field survey
activities proceed from one building part to another, say
from front elevation to the next, building “part” is the
survey operational subject in planning the procedure.