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Report on CIPA International Symposium - Göteborg, Sweden - October 1997

The Xth CIPA symposium was held in Göteborg from the 1-3 October. The symposium was organised by CIPA, Jan Rosval from the Institute of Conservation, G�teborg University, Anders Boberg from the Swedish Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Royal Institute of Technology and Bosse Lagerqvist from the Institute of Conservation. The Institute of Conservation co-sponsored the event.

The symposium theme was: Photogrammetry in Architecture, Archaeology and Urban Conservation. Two tutorials were offered, one on Photogrammetric field-work for non-photogrammetrists following CIPA 3x3 rule and one on Digital Photogrammetry. Seventy-five registered participants from twenty-three countries and five continents took part in the Symposium, the two tutorials and the discussions. Many of these participated in an excursion and some twenty participated in a CIPA-ICCROM out-reach workshop following the symposium.

Forty-one papers were presented orally or in poster-format and published in the proceedings which were available at the beginning of the symposium. A second volume is expected which will contain the round-table discussions. The proceedings are coded as International Archives of Photogrammetry & R.S. Vol. XXXII, Part 5C1B, edited by Anders Boberg and Bosse Lagergvist, published by the Swedish Society for Photogrammetry & R.S. (SSFF). They are now available from RICS Books ( Surveyor Court, Westwood Way, Coventry CV4 8JE United Kingdom Fax 44 171-344-3800). The papers presented were grouped into the following themes:

  • The need for photogrammetry in conservation planning
  • Information systems for cultural heritage
  • Applications in archaeology
  • Applications in architecture
  • Preservation and restoration
  • Digital technology
  • Education and co-operation
  • Information systems for handling large areas

In addition to the established photogrammetric methods the individual papers discussed spatial information systems, CAD applications, visualisation and some new recording technologies developed and/or applied by non-photogrammetrists.

The majority of the participants and authors were members of ISPRS Member Organisations and these clearly supported the continued use of photogrammetry and related technologies in the documentation of monuments and sites. Similar support came from archaeologist, architects and conservators who have been exposed to these techniques through own applications. However there was also a section of the audience which appeared to hold the view that there is no need for special attention to photogrammetric solutions as these are now readily available in software form. There is an obvious misuse and misinterpretation of the term "rectified image" which has contributed to this attitude. Numerous commercial packages offer cheap, non-photogrammetric quick-fix solutions in the form of rubber-sheeting, labeled as rectification and such software has a valuable and important role in CIPA related activities. However, the non-photogrammetric user of such software is typically not aware of the difference of this approach to true rectification and subsequently misjudges the reliability, accuracy and general nature of the rubber-sheeting method. It is one of CIPA's and ISPRS's responsibilities to promote education and training for the archaeological, architectural, conservation and documentation community in this and other relevant photogrammetric methods. ISPRS through its working groups should also take note of the increased integration of GIS, CAD, visualisation, SAR and airborne as well as close-range laser-scanning equipment into the field of documentation of monuments and sites.

Much in evidence were the links between photogrammetric solutions and CAD packages which are widely used for visualisation in documentation and further work in this area is required, especially in view of the rubber-sheeting approach mentioned above. During the symposium it became obvious that there is a need to make users of photogrammetric and related technologies aware of accuracy, reliability and general quality control issues. These areas appear to be of low priority to some users.

The small exhibition associated with the symposium showed some interesting soft-and hardware products such as low-end digital photogrammetric stations, panoramic viewing software, some private companies offering photogrammetric documentation displayed their products. Especially interesting was a laser scanner, which produced online CAD models of three-dimensional objects. This technology must be expected to play a major role in the recording of artifacts and monuments and should be integrated into the photogrammetric toolbox.

In conclusion, there is certainly ample room for ISPRS contributions to developments in the documentation area. Among the topics of interest to ISPRS one can identify one as especially prominent and that is the development of specialised Information Systems for the recording of monuments, sites and entire historical cities. Here ISPRS expertise can contribute substantially and research on the further development of Monument-, Site- and Urban Information systems should be encouraged. Other important areas are the design of further low cost, easy-to-use recording systems based on a variety of new technologies, visualisation models and links to CAD and GIS systems. In this context it is important to note that a large number of historical monuments and archaeological sites are located in countries with limited access to funds and technologies and low-cost systems are best suited to these environments. Other clear messages coming out of the symposium are the need to enhance communication between ISPRS and ICOMOS and to identify user needs.

The symposium was preceded by two days of meetings of the CIPA. Two additional meetings had to be held during the symposium as urgent matters could not be resolved during the first two days. The committee discussions were concerned with working group activities, CIPA policy, proposed changes of statutes and new committee members.

A two-day out-reach workshop in Marstrand near G�teborg explored ISPRS/ICOMOS interaction, the need to create awareness of CIPA in the relevant communities and the formation of new working groups as well as the formulation of activities with respect to these urgent issues. The role and future of CIPA was discussed at length. The identification of ISPRS and ICOMOS National Delegates to CIPA from all member countries was identified as an important avenue to a wider spread of CIPA activities. It was also reported that CIPA is making considerable efforts to understand and integrate ICOMOS' generic and broad documentation needs into to its activities through a series of workshops that will be part of the 'CIPA-ICCROM 5 Year Outreach Plan'. This plan is expected to make CIPA more pro-active CIPA by ensuring strong participation from ICOMOS (see the Outreach Workshop 2 report on external link CIPA's Homepage). The workshop ended in a positive spirit regarding the role and importance of CIPA in the documentation of monuments and sites.

Heinz Rüther
Cape Town 1997/10/20