Safeguarding heritage through technology explored at conference in Stirling

digidocLeaders from the worlds of gaming and 3D are among the international experts due to speak at DigiDoc, an international conference held today and tomorrow at the Engine Shed in Stirling.

DigiDoc, held as part of Historic Environment Scotland’s digital heritage festival DigiFest, will showcase ground-breaking technology aimed at preserving the built environment and is expected to attract professionals in the technology and heritage sectors from across the globe.

The event features academics and high-profile industry experts from organisations such as Google, the Smithsonian Institution. Renowned historian, Maxime Durand, from leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, Ubisoft will be showcasing The Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt.

The educational tool allows visitors to roam and explore the entire world of Egypt that was recreated in Assassin’s Creed Origins (released in October 2017). From Alexandria to Memphis, from the Nile Delta to the Sand Sea, from The Giza plateau to the Faiyum Oasis, “visitors will be immersed like never before” in Ancient Egypt, said organisers.

“Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt is like a living museum for everyone to learn more about Ancient Egypt through guided tours curated by historians and Egyptologists,” said Durand.

“The freedom to visit the 3D world really makes the tool stand out in terms of experience. While we were inspired to build this mode for students to learn about Ancient Egypt, these tours are made to be accessible for everyone and their rhythm is not rhetoric, but entertaining.”

DigiFest runs through to 20 October.

Thomas Flynn, cultural and heritage lead at Sketchfab, the largest platform to publish and find 3D models, will be at DigiDoc to profile the company’s global success in helping the heritage community to share their collections online.

His presentation will focus on the benefits of curating cultural heritage scenes and artefacts illustrated with case studies such as the 3D model of the Four Well at Edinburgh Castle. The model uses survey data of a 700 year-old well alongside a digital reconstruction of part of Edinburgh Castle, not normally accessible to visitors. Thomas will also be leading a masterclass on how to process 2D images into 3D models using photogrammetry software.

“The ability to create and capture detailed and accurate historical 3D models is getting easier all the time and the number of ways we can display and interact with digital heritage is on a similar trajectory,” said Flynn. “More interesting than these technological advancements, however, are the ways in which people are using these 3D models and displays to educate, inspire and tell stories about local and global history.”

Dorothy Hoskins, technical outreach and education manager at the Engine Shed, said: “While advances in technology are allowing us to conserve, monitor and care for our historic sites and buildings with ever-increasing efficiency and effectiveness, these same innovations are also making Scotland’s heritage more accessible than ever.

“The calibre of speakers we have attracted to DigiDoc is testament to how rapidly technological innovations are progressing. It’s a full and interactive programme and we look forward to welcoming industry colleagues from across the country.”

DigiDoc will also feature a Research and Innovation Day today, featuring speakers covering a wide array of issues such as new visualisation technologies for historic assets.

Launched by Historic Environment Scotland in July 2017 as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public, The Engine Shed has seen a highly successful opening year, welcoming over 15,000 visitors and winning a number of awards.

The establishment of the public-facing facility, which includes a large scale interactive map allowing visitors to explore over 2,000 years of Scotland’s history through the power of augmented reality, aims to engage the next generation with our historic environment and the value of protecting and preserving it.

Delivered by Historic Environment Scotland and supported by Stirling Council, DigiDoc is sponsored by Leica Geosystems, a leading provider of premium 3D laser scanning equipment and services, and DigiFest is sponsored by Creative Scotland.

Pictured: DigiFest and DigiDoc project manager, Clara Molina Sanchez, and technical outreach and education manager at the Engine Shed, Dorothy Hoskins.