The Risk Map of Cultural Heritage is a project promoted by the
Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR) in
line with a research project stemming from Brandi's
notion of preventive restoration, and developing through Giovanni Urbani's
reflections on programmed manitenance. The central idea upon the
"Risk Map" is based on the development of systems and
methods enabling maintenance and restoration programs for architectural,
archaeological and historical-artistic items with regard to their
respective conditions and the harsness of the environment where
they are situated. The word "programming" is used in
its literal meaning of obtaining useful information to predict,
and thus to decide in advance, wich measures have to be taken
most urgently, with regard to both the time necessary for execution,
and to inherent expenses, in order to avoid losses and damage.
This requirement is all the more urgent when we consider the major
importance of Italian cultural heritage, as well as the lack of
financial means available for its preservation and the resulting
duty of using all available resources to their ulmost and overcoming
a constant state of emergency. By the time the project is finished,
new tools of knowledge and new methods of analysis will be available
to the central and local administrations of cultural heritage,
which help control and monitoring the condition of cultural heritage
in order to manage and optimize conservation measures.
Gathering and analysing information about the environmental harshness
to which cultural items are subjected in order to draw up thematic
maps of risk in Italy.
Information about the environmental danger factors which may be
harmful for cultural heritage are being gathered from existing
data banks. Such information will be recorded on the computer-based
"Geographical Information System" (GIS); three thematics
maps concerning three different danger factors and their distribution
on the Italian territory will be drawn: - static-structural danger
(earth-quackes, hydro-geological risks, volcanism, etc.); - environmental
air-danger (air pollution, climate, sea aerosol, etc.); - human
danger (theft, hooliganism, tourist pressure, etc.).
A data bank is also being realized, containing several information
from bibliographic source about the distribution and consistency
of cultural heritage at a municipal level. The maps of environmental
danger will be connected to this data bank (interim map of heritage's
value) in order to obtain information about areas which are potentially
most exposed to risk factors.
A survey, on two different levels, of the condition, and therefore
of real vulnerability, of cultural items: firstly, mostly cataloguing
tools will be used; secondly, monitoring in the field will be
carried out with special equipment.
Trough its field work the ICR has developed a set of file-cards
for the assessment of the condition of different cultural aims.
Such cards are based on the standards
developed by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione
(ICCD), though they have been adapted to suit the nature
of conservation problems. The card-compiling is being undertaken
in four sample areas, and in close contact with the local administrations
of cultural heritage. The aim is to extend this kind of survey
to the whole national territory. The data, gathered in different
formats (alphanumerical, graphic, images), is recorded on magnetic
and optical disks; an index of vulnerability is attached to each
of the items examined, the numerical value showing the actual
condition of the object.
A new system of picture taking and filing is used in cataloguing instead of more normal photographs; this system is called on "iconometric model" In the iconometric model photographs of the items are automatically brought to the desired scale and rectified, i.e. cleared of inevitable perspective distorsions. Indications, themes and notes can then be drawn on these images; measurements of distances and surface areas, as well as other information about condition, can also be obtained from them.
A more detailed survey is being carried out on some sites, chosen because of their environmental features. This survey is divided into four classes of analysis:
This work of cataloguing and monitoring is being undertaken in
order to check the actual evolution of material decay in the environment
where they are situated. This collected data will be used for
an operative evaluation of theoretical information gathered through
the tematic risk maps.
A computer-based synthesis of quantitative data concerning the
distribution and real vulnerability of items, and of the presence
of danger factors. This is to be the final aim of the "Risk
The tematic risk maps, along with the information obtained from in-the-field cataloguing and with the indexes of vulnerability, are stored in the GIS. In this manner different data can be gathered together and processed so that a final synthesis is obtained, expressing the risks each cultural item is exposed to, with regard to its vulnerability and to the harshness of the environment in which it is situated.
The hardware and software architecture consists of a main central system and four local systems. Each peripheral system consists of stations in a local network, communicating with the central server by national network. Information about the condition of cultural items gathered at the remote servers, are checked and then transmitted to the central system, where technicians can carry out different kinds of analysis on global data. Information concerning data identifying an item is transmitted to the Central System at the Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, and stored in the accounting and administrative data bank; they are kept in a special dossier (electronic dossier, budget, register, etc.). Information concerning environmental danger, gathered at the central server, are transmitted to the remote servers according to their territorial competence.
All information converge at the, located at the ICR's Physics laboratory. This server is made up by workstations connected in a network. All research and analysis functions can be performed on this central data bank, containing all alphanumeric data concerning the first and second level cataloguing, cartographic data, images and graphics. The data resulting from the in-the-field cataloguing converges at the four remote servers, located at the local administrations of cultural heritage in Rome, Naples, Ravenna, and Turin . Each remote system is equipped with a server and eight PCs, connected in a LAN. The server works as a connection with the central server, while controlled data entry (acquisition and processing of images, photographs and drawings) can be performed from the different workstations. Each remote system collects, processes and manages the cataloguing data expressing the condition of the cultural items, in order to establish the priority of measures to be carried out on items placed in the territory of the local competence.
Being a programming tool, the "Risk Map" will be useful to the central bodies of Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali in order to address the financial flows at a national level, and to the single local administrations of cultural heritage in order to keep under observation the items they are responsible for and to attend to their maintenance. The "Risk Map" will be usefull for all local administrations with direct or indirect responsibility for cultural heritage (regional, provincial and municipal administrations). We consider the survey concentrated on four sites (Rome, Naples, Ravenna and Turin) as a first significant model, to be gradually extended at the whole network of all local administrations of cultural heritage.
The project is being carried out by four consortia. Activities
are co-ordinated and directed by the ICR's technical-scientific
management, consisting of experts with different professional
Pio Baldi, Project Director
Giorgio Accardo, Phisician
Giuseppe Basile, Historician of art
Andrea Bennici, Informatic
Alessandro Bianchi, Historician of art
Carlo Cacace, Informatic
Gisella Capponi, Architect
Giuseppina Fazio, Restorer
Angela Maria Ferroni, Archeologist
Clelia Giacobini, Biologist
Annamaria Giovagnoli, Chemist
Sergio Indrio, Architect
Clemente Marsicola, Historician of art
Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro, Archeologist
Costantino Meucci, Chemist
Annamaria Pandolfi, Architect
Roberto Rinaldi, Phisician
Italo Tiglie, Biologist
Giuseppina Vigliano, Chemist
Andrea Belluni, Consorzio ATI-MARIS
Renzo Carlucci, Consorzio ARCAD
Giovanni Iorio Giannoli, Consorzio METIS
Danilo Pilo, Consorzio ABECA
The project was started in summer 1992 and is expected to be completed
by the end of 1995.