Utilise Arches to explore archaeological sites and landscapes
The Arches database is currently under construction so look out for a social media blast when it is ready.
The CAAL project will be disseminated using Arches: a multilingual platform for heritage inventories, developed by the Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monuments Fund. It is an open source software (OSS) which allows us to customise, develop, and enhance its functionality. Arches provides an attractive and searchable front end which can be customised to control how much information individual users see and the level to which they can zoom into the landscape and locate specific sites. Most importantly, it’s a multilingual platform so, at the moment it is in English, Chinese and Russian but ultimately it will be in all the Central Asian languages. This is supported by a very detailed multilingual thesaurus, the advantage being that you can put in a term such as caravanserai in any language into the database and similarly, if you come to search for caravanserai it will find all of the language-related terms; hopefully providing an effective and powerful platform for research and conservation across the region. It has a complex structure. Simultaneously, we have developed a QGIS GeoPackage database. This makes it possible to deliver a practical process to our partner institutions working in the various countries. Again, an open source piece of software that we can customise at a local level, to meet their specific needs and allow them the full GIS capabilities to utilise the data, to manage it, and to think about its relationship to threats such as climate crisis, urban expansion, changing hydrology and agriculture.
In doing this we are also exploring the use of the Arches Collector app for data collection using mobile phones. The purpose of this is to better serve and engage local communities in some of these remote areas in documenting change and threats to their heritage, thereby extending involvement throughout the region.