This presentation is part of the 2017 3D Digital Documentation Summit.

Beyond Hype and Promise: Digital Heritage Strategies in Our Nation’s Parks for Preservation, 3D Learning, Outreach, and Education

Heritage in our National Parks range from natural and cultural landscapes and constructed environments, to features and portable artifacts. Differences in scale and representation requirements create unique challenges for digital documentation projects concerning best methods and approach, with expectations for desired outcomes often exceeding potentials for the selected technologies. Advances in scalar applications using a variety of terrestrial laser scanning and imaging tools can be brought together for an integrated approach to documentation that can greatly extend capabilities for representation, survey, and digitization. Still, digital tools are often misapplied or used singularly, without maximizing the outcome and deliverable potentials. Visualization of data using mixed reality and multimedia approaches, 3D printing, and 3D social media applications, are also greatly evolving in capability for heritage preservation, research, education, and dissemination, but thoughtful approaches to both the collection and the presentation of digital data is needed to achieve more than the hype and promise of technology. 3D, spatial, and imaging tools are helping to increase data access, and are improving the ability to share, interpret, and digitally preserve archaeological information on public lands. The ability to rapidly and accurately document the world around us is revolutionizing fields of archeology, museum studies, and library sciences, and is creating new areas of research integration, archival collection schemes, and curriculum development. The application of these technologies is creating new areas in research integration and offering new opportunities for libraries in particular to become stronger partners in science through the creation of digital collections and archives. Libraries should be active partners in heritage projects and can afford wider dissemination opportunities, and provide for robust metadata and permanency of archival collections, while combining data from disparate sources into meaningful and valuable information and digital collections.

Using a series of case studies performed in our nation’s parks, we will show how innovative partnerships and interdisciplinary research can be applied to areas of critical resource management, and how heritage sites are benefiting from the application of appropriate technologies in the area of rapid digital and spatial documentation. Examples from select projects include work performed to document endangered historic architecture, hard-to-access artifacts and collections, fragile rock art and carved stone monument digitization, and landscape terrain and cave system survey. These efforts highlight a real-world application and problem-solving approach for heritage managers and agencies, and demonstrate the unique role of universities and libraries serving as partners to provide expertise and resources relating to digital database and collection development, data accessibility, and share-ability of information.

Emphasis will be placed on how we can move beyond the hype of digital and 3D to create meaningful research and educational products and visualizations. Important considerations relating to curation and standards, metadata and archive development, and data distribution potentials will be discussed.

Outcomes from case study projects will show how careful and collaborative research design development among stakeholders and partners are allowing digital technologies and strategies to be used to their fullest capability, and how our collaborators in the NPS system are benefiting in areas of resource management, research, and interpretation.

Speaker Bio
Dr. Lori Collins is the co-Director of the University of South Florida (USF) Library’s Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections, and is a Research Associate Professor in the USF School of Geosciences. She has led a number of research projects in National Parks, and specializes in the application of LiDAR and terrestrial laser scanning and imaging for heritage documentation. She teaches courses on technologies for heritage preservation, Global Positioning Systems, 3D printing, and museum visualizations. Areas of primary interest are in landscape preservation and management, iconographic and rock art documentation, and LiDAR and terrestrial laser scanning applications for heritage.

Dr. Travis Doering
is the co-Director of the University of South Florida (USF) Library’s Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections, and is affiliated faculty in the School of Geosciences and the Department of Anthropology at USF. He has led a number of projects across the United States, including Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands, and at archaeological sites and museums in Mexico and Guatemala. He has conducted 3D surveys in Europe including Armenia, France, and Spain, and has worked with a variety of industry, government and agency partners. His specializations include rock art and stone monument digitization, architecture, and landscape surveys.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
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