The Associated press recently highlighted a positive initiative underway to help combat the destruction of heritage sites currently happening in Syria and the wider region.
They reported that scientists are slipping 3-D cameras into Syria to local activists and residents to scan antiquities. The Million Image Database project, which is backed by UNESCO, aims to "flood the region" with low-cost, easy-to-use 3-D cameras, so citizens can document antiquities in their area. Even if they are destroyed, detailed records will remain for scholarship and study.
The point-and-shoot cameras, which cost about $50 each, take a stereoscopic image of the relics, with a granularity of detail measured in centimetres. Nearly 1,000 cameras have already been deployed or are on their way, not only to Syria, but also Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. The aim is to distribute 5,000 cameras region-wide by next year, at a total coast of US $4 to $6 million.
The camera user can upload their pictures or videos to the project's website. The website is closed to the public to protect the activists' anonymity and to ensure the site remains a purely scholarly venture.
This positive and practical use of photography shows that imaginative and dedicated people can make an important contribution to the fight against cultural destruction.
CEO, Our Place
Geoff’s GPS linked Photo Blog on his documenting World Heritage sites with OP partners Seabourn is once more on-line. Follow his trip around some fascinating Mediterranean sites on: http://my.yb.tl/seaunesco