Platform Tracks Dangers to World’s Historic Sites
The Global Heritage Fund has launched a web-based global tracking platform that identifies, monitors and communicates threatened sites in developing countries to scientists, governments and local activists.
The Global Heritage Network brings data from Google Earth, Esri, DigitalGlobe together with social networking information to identify at-risk sites in places where the resources for such surveys are in short supply.
As Discovery News points out in their coverage, destroyed sites are marked with black spots, sites at immediate risk of destruction (rescue-needed) are red, at-risk sites orange and stable ones are marked with green.
So far, 40 of the 80 sites identified as rescue-needed have been supported with threat-and-planning support documents. Those sites include Great Zimbabwe, the old city of Damascus in Syria, Samarra in Iraq and Antigua Guatemala.
The value of saving and stabilizing these sites is not strictly intellectual and cultural. An earlier Global Heritage Network report estimated a $100 billion boon in tourism dollars annually by 2025 could result from preservation of the sites in its database.