GIS Conservation Course Takes off at ICCROM – ATHAR
29 Feb 2016
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Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, the Regional Centre for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Arab World (ICCROM-ATHAR) in partnership with UCL-Qatar, and in cooperation with the government of Sharjah and the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities in the UAE, has launched a short training course yesterday called “Integrating Documentation in Heritage Management: An Introduction to the Use of Geographic Information Systems – GIS” to 3 March 2016 at the centre’s premises in Sharjah.

Part of the short courses series titled “Informed Conservation,” this course is aimed at professionals who are looking to expand their working knowledge and experience in the field of cultural heritage conservation. GIS can be a powerful tool for inventory purposes, as well as for assessing, examining, conserving, and protecting cultural heritage. It can assist heritage managers in preventing and reducing the damages to cultural heritage affected by the current crises in the region, such as looting, illicit trafficking, environmental degradation, and illegal building activities. GIS can be a powerful tool for inventory purposes, as well as for assessing, examining, conserving, and protecting cultural heritage. It can assist heritage managers in preventing and reducing the damages to cultural heritage affected by the current crises in the region, such as looting, illicit trafficking, environmental degradation, and illegal building activities.

The course participants include 16 professionals from Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates. They are to be introduced to the basic concepts of GIS and how it can be used as a research tool to acquire, analyze and display cultural heritage data. Furthermore, the course demonstrates how GIS can be used to manage cultural heritage, by being used to conduct risk assessment and monitoring, as well as compile inventories. The course is divided into themes to familiarize participants with the different aspects of GIS, by providing different case studies.

The course also includes a field exercise of GPS data gathering at the site of Al-Dour, where ICCROM-ATHAR is managing a conservation project to stabilize the deterioration of the 1st century temple.