Scotland hosts global conference on remote access to World Heritage sites
Leading lights in science, technology, conservation and heritage interpretation descended upon Edinburgh on 23 November 2011 for a unique conference on how new technology could help protect fragile landscapes while giving greater public access to them.
‘I Know Where I'm Going: Remote Access to World Heritage Sites from St Kilda to Uluru’ was held from 23 to 24 November, with a keynote speech from Dr Mechtild Rossler, Chief of the Policy and Statutory Management Unit at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre .
Over the two days, delegates from across the globe explored how people could use new technology to view remote, fragile and protected sites without having to physically visit them. This is thanks to a flurry of new digital media showcased at the event, including 3D/4D scanning, mobile phones, GPS/GIS and new marine and satellite technologies.
The planned St Kilda World Heritage Centre was showcased as a case study and was the focus of a live digital exhibition throughout the Conference. The St Kilda archipelago is situated over 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides and its islands rise vertically out of the sea to form some of the highest cliffs and sea stacs in Europe. St Kilda is the UK’s only dual UNESCO World Heritage Site, for both natural and cultural heritage, and earlier this year the main island of Hiort was scanned by Historic Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art to create 3D images for their Scottish Ten project.
Attendees debated the policy issues, benefits and challenges of these new technologies in relation to the preservation and conservation of environmentally sensitive sites. They also explored how new media can increase public access to remote sites and enhance the economic benefits from tourism.
Conference delegates were welcomed by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, and went on to sessions featuring a live internet link with Uluru in Australia and a session on Africa as well as the demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies and presentations by field leaders on education and tourism.
The event was also streamed live online at http://bit.ly/ikwigfeaturing a chat function that allowed users to interact with other viewers and post questions during the live Q & A session.
Visit www.inspace.ed.ac.uk for more details.