GIS workshop in Syria to improve Heritage Management
In cooperation with the Syrian ministry of culture, a three-day workshop was organized in Syria by UNESCO Beirut office, between October 29th and 31st 2007, to initiate a heritage “digital base-map” build-up dynamic with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), based on Geospatial information technologies(GIS).
It looked to form a group of archaeologists and heritage managers with adequate practical knowledge, to be in charge of Heritage recording in a sustainable way.
The motive behind the workshop was the progress that GIS have recorded during the last decade, to become widely used by the archaeologists and Heritage Management Authorities. Nevertheless, many countries still do not use GIS to manage their cultural resources, thus limiting the capacities of their decision making dynamics.
During the workshop, candidates were introduced to the concepts and practices of geospatial technologies. They were trained to use geo-historic data and implement it within the GIS platform. Furthermore, one day site training enabled them to get acquainted with the GPS/GIS surveying procedures. Prior to the workshop, a preparatory survey mission was conducted towards the end of September 2007. It was the result of a contract signed between UNESCO and the trainers Assaad Seif and Ghassan Ghattas, aiming to check the material and profiles of the candidates, while at the same time examining the precision of the area designated for field work.
The candidates were recruited by the training centre which took into consideration their knowledge in heritage recording procedures, and past experiences in computer and general GIS training course. The workshop was in Arabic, with English used for all technical issues. The sessions of the workshop covered a variety of subjects, including a basic introduction to GIS (tasks, components, and projection systems), archeology and heritage resources and the role of GIS in heritage resources management, in addition to data storage and management and data acquisition methods. The final day was dedicated to field research, data acquisition, manipulation and analysis.
The training facility was equiped with all the needed equipments for the training, namely 10 computers with one server linked to an LCD projector. Moreover, 5 GPS’s were ready to be used by the trainees during their fieldwork sessions. Also, a working version of ArcGis 8.3 Software was installed on all the needed machines. One satellite image with a topographic map of the training area also was provided by the training.