Curious travellers: using web-scraped and crowd-sourced imagery in support of heritage under threat

Andrew S Wilson, Vincent Gaffney, Chris Gaffney, Eugene Ch’ng, Richard Bates, Elgidius B Ichumbaki, Gareth Sears, Tom Sparrow, Andrew Murgatroyd, Eddy Faber, Adrian Evans, Robin Coningham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


Designed as a pragmatic approach that anticipates change to cultural heritage, this chapter discusses responses that encompass records for tangible cultural heritage (monuments, sites and landscapes) and the narratives that see the impact upon them. The Curious Travellers project provides a mechanism for digitally documenting heritage sites that have been destroyed or are under immediate threat from unsympathetic development, neglect, natural disasters, conflict and cultural vandalism. The project created and tested data-mining and crowd-sourced workflows that enable the accurate digital documentation and 3D visualisation of buildings, archaeological sites, monuments and heritage at risk. When combined with donated content, image data are used to recreate 3D models of endangered and lost monuments and heritage sites using a combination of open-source and proprietary methods. These models are queried against contextual information, helping to place and interrogate structures with relevant site and landscape data for the surrounding environment. Geospatial records such as aerial imagery and 3D mobile mapping laser scan data serve as a framework for adding new content and testing accuracy. In preserving time-event records, image metadata offers important information on visitor habits and conservation pressures, which can be used to inform measures for site management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual heritage: digital approaches in heritage science
EditorsEugene Ch'ng, Henry Chapman, Vincent Gaffney, Andrew S. Wilson
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030770280
ISBN (Print)9783030770280, 9783030770303, 9783030770273
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Heritage conservation
  • SfM photogrammetry
  • Multi-view stereo


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