Alongside the human tragedies, Ukrainians cultural heritage is also at risk of being destroyed by the war. As of January 2023, UNESCO says it has verified damage to 235 sites of cultural importance since the Russian invasion in February. These include 104 religious sites, 18 museums, 83 buildings of historical/artistic interest, 19 monuments and 11 libraries.
From an article in World Economic Forum.
Empowering citizen archivists
Among ongoing efforts to safeguard Ukraine’s cultural heritage is an initiative called Backup Ukraine, which allows anyone to become an archivist. The Polycam app allows citizens to make 3D models of buildings and monuments in case they are damaged or destroyed. It can be used for 3D scanning by mobile phones, DSLR cameras and even drones. The scans can then be uploaded and preserved online in a permanent digital archive.
The app allows all Ukrainians to have free access to the scanning technology without any training. Previously, 3D scans could only be carried out by experts with specialized knowledge and equipment.
However, the people behind the project say that for now it’s limiting the recording of ‘public works’, such as major cultural assets, to a volunteer corps authorized by the authorities. Other citizens are being encouraged to record things and places near to where they live, such as local statues, meeting places and indoor locations like shelters.
The project is a partnership between UNESCO, Blue Shield Denmark and VICE Media Group’s Virtue agency.
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