Cultural Heritage

Recent advances in remote sensing are opening a wide range of applications for cultural heritage. The new extremely high-resolution now available of 50cm allows to visualize archaeological sites, cathedrals, historic cities, etc. Modern space radar technologies are being used to discover further archaeological features, to measure terrain movements in Machu Picchu or Mexico City, etc.

For these reasons, the ESA-UNESCO Open Initiative on the use of space technologies to support World heritage are implementing a series of activities related with the application of space technologies for cultural heritage sites

Modeling and reconnecting the Silk Road

The Silk Road is a network of trade-routes connecting Asia to Europe that helped to spread ideas, values, cultures and knowledge for over a millennium. The project focuses on reconnecting the different parts of the Silk Road by developing a technology that combines satellite images with digital topography, and aims to develop a heritage information management system.

African Heritage Database

The African Heritage Database project, coordinated by the University of Cape Town in South Africa, is a documentation project that aims to capture spatial information to create a permanent record of African heritage sites for immediate restoration and conservation purposes.

Observing and safeguarding archaeology in Uruk-Warka

In 2001, a scientific project was launched to collect information that could provide better knowledge of the whole structure of the city. To better monitor the site a new project using recent satellite imagery has been initiated in cooperation between UNESCO and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Inventory and Preservation of the Frozen Tombs in the Moutains of Altai

Through a joint project with the University of Ghent, space technologies are being used to assist with the mapping, inventory and conservation of these unique frozen tombs, threatened by loss of permafrost.

Mexico City: support for heritage management

Two of Mexico City’s most famous landmarks, the Bellas Artes Opera House and the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, are sinking. DLR and UNESCO are assisting the Mexican conservation authorities by monitoring terrain movements in the area.

Machu Picchu: Using remote sensing to provide an effective management tool

Machu Picchu (Peru) is probably the most important urban creation of the Inca Empire. UNESCO and the Government of Peru are collaborating in a joint project using space technologies and remote sensing in in particular provide the local conservation authorities with an effective management tool and address current challenges.

Machu Picchu: A tool for improved imaging in difficult areas

To facilitate the use of radar data and support UNESCO’s heritage initiative, the French Space Agency (Centre national d’études spatiales - CNES) decided to provide a tool for SAR visibility prediction. The tool is designed to help users to select the most appropriate SAR data acquisition parameters for the imaging of a particular Area Of Interest (AOI).

Decision support system for archaeological sites in Guatemala

UNESCO is working in partnership with the conservation authorities of Guatemala and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to assist Guatemala in the planning and management of eco-archeological protected areas, including areas of forest concessions, by providing them with an integrated system.

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