Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

STORM — Result In Brief

Project ID: 700191
Country: Italy
Domain: Environment

Ensuring that Europe’s cultural heritage can weather climate change and natural hazards

Researchers with the EU-funded STORM project are building new technologies and processes to better protect and preserve Europe’s cultural heritage against the threats of climate change and natural hazards.
Ensuring that Europe’s cultural heritage can weather climate change and natural hazards
Europe’s cultural heritage is extremely exposed to climate change and natural hazards, which threaten its integrity and may compromise its sustainability. In the last four decades, numerous European institutions have carried out preventative strategies aimed at protecting the EU’s cultural sites. Although all of these initiatives had prevention and public policy at their core, none addressed the issue of ‘what to do next’. The EU-supported STORM (Safeguarding Cultural Heritage through Technical and Organisational Resources Management) project is considering that next step.

Putting prevention into practice

STORM uses the valuable information on prevention gathered during previous projects to create practical tools to safeguard Europe’s cultural heritage. By making the processes user-focused and citizen-centred, STORM is bringing a new level of awareness about protection and prevention.

“STORM proposes a set of novel predictive models and improved non-invasive and non-destructive methods for surveying and predicting environmental changes, and for revealing threats and conditions that could damage cultural heritage sites,” says Project Coordinator Dr Silvia Boi.

The project studies how different vulnerable material, structures and buildings are affected by extreme weather events, using a range of site-specific sensors and damage assessment tools.

“For example, our work at the site of the Bath of Diocletian used atmospheric monitoring to assess the impact of contaminants on the monument and microclimate monitoring aimed at the conservation of archaeological and monumental heritage.” The project also conducted structural analysis of the monument, using a 3D laser scanner at different times and different places at the site, to provide data on vibrations caused by road and underground traffic. They assessed the environmental conditions and compared the arising data with meteorological parameters.

STORM uses intra fluorescent and wireless acoustic sensors along with survey and diagnosis technologies, including LiDAR and UAVs. In the next stages of the project, crowdsensing and crowdsourcing techniques will be put in place. These will offer applications and services over an open cloud infrastructure, resulting in a collaborative platform for collecting information and enhancing knowledge. Shared data will enable the development of processes and sustainable methodologies to safeguard and manage European cultural heritage.

Crowdsourcing information will be used during the Quick Assessment process when intervention is needed in the case of sudden hazards. It will ensure that the right actor is sent to the site at the right time. Those involved will be rigorously identified and selected during the trial scenarios definition and some exercises will be planned to evaluate the results of the response.

Crowdsensing will be used to collect data on the specific hazards that are threatening the pilot sites. Volunteers such as tourists and students, along with those more expert, will be invited to upload certain data, including text and images. The project can then use this material to inform its activities.

From testing to in-field application

The STORM system is currently being tested in Italy, Greece, the UK, Portugal and Turkey. According to Dr Boi, the results from these five pilot sites will provide a consistent set of guidelines, best practices and lessons learned about the usage of the STORM technologies. This includes ground-based sensors and the damage assessment technologies, as well as situation awareness, risk assessment and management services to quickly detect and effectively mitigate natural hazards and climate change threats.

“It is every government’s duty to assure the preservation and valorisation of national heritage, through the development of policies that are effective and inclusive. Policies need to contribute to raising awareness among local communities and institutions about the conservation of their heritage,” says Dr Boi.

Current regulations and directives on the impact of climate change on cultural heritage, and national emergency plans, are not sufficient to cover the needs assessed by STORM. “There were weaknesses in specific directives provided by authorities, which creates a jeopardised situation in almost all the countries involved in the project,” she explains. At the end of STORM, policy recommendations will be released to show a feasible pathway to improve the response.

“The project started with the great ambition of building a common motivation framework among a wide group of varied competences,” says Dr Boi. “After the first period of STORM, we know that the methodology could work and now it is time to apply it in the field.”

Related information

Keywords

STORM, cultural heritage, climate change, cultural identity, archaeology, Natural hazards, LiDAR, UAV, preventive conservation, damage assessment, cloud-based platform
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