The Culture 2.0 Camp in Chrzelice, Poland finished yesterday. It was a MediaLab-style experiment in form of a four-day camp filled with workshops. Chrzelice is a (now) tiny village with a rich 700 years-long history. One of the workshops was concentrated on digitising this history and preserving the local cultural heritage. One of our aims was to digitise and archive some fragments of that heritage but in the first place it was to come up with good and sustainable tools and methods of doing that. People with a range of different backgrounds took part in that workshop: historians, sociologists, ethnologists, librarians, programmers and many more. As a result the range of tools that we used was also varied:
* recording social interviews with members of local community, some of whom remember the good days of Chrzelice castle in early 20th century (today ruined)
* scanning and photographing old documents and objects of historical significance, with engagement of a few employees of the Silesian Digital Library and the Warmian-Masurian Digital Library
* 3D scanning,
* building a map of the area in OSM.
In addition to the basic map features we put some stress on the monuments of the past and important historical objects, as well as local (even colloquial) place names that are in common use by the ~600 inhabitants, but which never appeared on an official map. It's worth noting that most of the other online map services lack 90% of the village streets in this region.
We used GPS receivers that participants had in their phones (the four GPS loggers that we had ordered specifically for that workshop had not arrived until a couple of days later), we used walkingpapers.org, we used some 2007 aerial imagery owned by a local historian-amateur Eryk Murlowski, and we tried Balloon Aerial Photography and Kite Aerial Photography to produce our own imagery. Unfortunately we had problems launching the hot-air balloon high enough, because of poor construction (in my tests before the camp we had it fly much higher) and the wind conditions were not ideal. We had more success with the kite, we managed getting it up to about 500m high on one occassion, unfortunately the camera wasn't set up properly on that flight resulting in motion-blurred pics. Something to improve before the next workshop, although I think the idea was good and the learning experience for the participants was valuable.