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    Egypt Wins Stockholm Challenge Award in Culture

    Cairo, 18 May 2004

    Egypt was among the winners of the international Stockholm Challenge Award of 2004. The award ceremony took place May 13th 2004, where ten winners in different categories received the prize in the Blue Hall in the Stockholm City. The winning projects came from Mexico, United States, Singapore, Egypt, Spain, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Botswana and Samoa. The award is for projects that find innovative ways to use IT, particularly those that bring benefits to users and society.

    The Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and receives technical support from MCIT was awarded the prize on its sound project: The Archeological Map of Egypt. The project embraces all the Egyptian archeological sites on a multimedia geographic information system. The Archeological Map of Egypt aims at cataloguing all of Egyptís archaeological discoveries allowing users accessibility of detailed information.

    The award is considered as a coronation for Egypt on its efforts to document its cultural and natural heritage utilizing latest IT applications and preserving it for generations to come. Dr. Fathy Saleh, Director of CULTNAT received the Award.

    107 countries participated in this award, nominating 900 projects. From 67 finalists, An international jury of experts from academia, business and the public sector has selected ten winners from the 103 finalists.

    More about the Archeological Map of Egypt:

    The projectsí first innovative solution is the use of a multi media-GIS map to document our archeological heritage. It divides the architectural sites information map into three levels. The first contains a map with all the architectural sites accompanied by a basic set of data about each site, recent photos and old photos to allow for status comparisons. The second level displays the general components of the site and the map with more detailed information on the data base. The third level takes the user inside a specific monument and describes it wall by wall. The second innovation of the project is the production of archeological atlases to describe Egyptian archeological sites by governorate. The project has published six volumes up till now.

    The management and preservation of the Ancient Egyptian heritage The project is developing an exhaustive archeological GIS map with tree levels: The first level is the national level allowing the user to zoom into different regions and/or select sites based on different criteria. This includes basic information on the site, old and new images and information about related objects in the Egyptian museums. The second level displays a detailed map of the site and its general components. The third level portrays the in-depth data of a selected monument and displays a plan of the structure as well as an overview image. A complete description of each wallís relief or paintings accompanies the attached photograph. For some of the monuments, a 3-D model is displayed with the possibility of a walk through visit. Our on going activities are the second level database, building VRS, atlas production and field surveying.

    The project has innovatively used IT in integrating multi media with geographic information systems (GIS) technology to show the exact coordinates and the geographic locations of the sites and the monuments as well as monument distribution within each site. Moreover, by using virtual reality technology to achieve virtual reality visits to different monuments while also providing the ability to interactively read the English translation of the hieroglyphic texts on the walls of a tomb for example. Also by merging GIS with VR and Multi Media technologies in one whole integrated system that can be used on any pc or laptop.

    The archeological map offers a valuable device for better managing, monitoring and updating the sites. It will always allow for updating and feeding of data according to the changing conditions of the site(s). It will also enhance the capability of those working on actual conservation and restoration of the sites and their monuments as the data integrated in the GIS map can give a global view of the status of the sites as whole as well as a detailed information on a specific monument. The map is also an important aid to researchers, professionals and students as it disseminates information on Egyptís archeological heritage in accessible, easy to use mediums: web, CD Rom and books.

    Notably, the project can replicated elsewhere in the world as it has a developed a system that employs a well defined methodology in gathering data, capturing images, tailoring and developing ICT systems. The project is currently replicated within CultNat umbrella in documenting the 19th and 20th century architectural heritage of downtown Cairo in a joint project with the EU entitled Euro-med heritage II: Patrimoine.

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