Attractions industry news

23 Oct 2015

Crowdsourced heritage preservation scheme Project Mosul goes global

Project Mosul – a heritage preservation and restoration project that initially focused on the Mosul Museum in Iraq – has been rechristened Rekrei after the team behind the crowdsourcing scheme took their efforts to a global level.

The former Project Mosul, co-founded by Matthew Vincent, Chance Coughenour and Marinos Ioannides of the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage (ITN-DCH), was created in February 2015 as a response to the destruction of cultural heritage by ISIS – specifically Mosul Museum.

Employing a web platform and masking software that allows for a 3D virtual reconstruction of destroyed artefacts and sites, the project uses crowd-sourced images to virtually recreate artefacts as 3D objects using the latest in photogrammetry techniques. These 3D representations are then presented in an online museum freely accessible to the public, though more recently the technology has been used more practically, creating a virtual map to aid in reconstruction of destroyed sites.

“Destruction of cultural heritage is nothing new,” said Matthew Vincent speaking at CyArk’s annual summit. “We have the burning of Mayan sites back in the 16th century as an example and before that there were all kinds of destruction of heritage aimed at trying to remove certain ideologies.

“When we started this we were thinking only of the Mosul Museum and focusing strictly on that site. But then the earthquake in Nepal and the loss of many that we saw made us think ‘what we’ve created for Mosul will also work here’. With the help of one of our partners we created a massive reconstruction of Kathmandu Durbar Square both before and after the destruction.”

Using crowdsourcing as the main tool to help gather images needed for digital reconstructions, Vincent said that the media plays a crucial role in the project and is directly tied to its success.

“Whenever a site is mentioned we find that people come to it, the media reaches out to us and then people get excited, which gives us more photos and that helps the reconstruction,” he said. “It’s a cycle that is dependant on having that connection with the public, which helps us to thrive.”

Now known as Rekrei, Vincent explained the meaning behind the new name.

“Project Mosul has very specific connotations,” he said. “When people hear about it they assume it’s focused only in the area of Mosul. But now our project has gone global it’s not just Mosul, it’s not just Iraq, it’s not just Syria, not just Nepal, it really could be anywhere. We’re excited to introduce this new name for our project and from here we’ll be known as Rekrei – an esperanto word that means ‘to recreate’.”

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