Science and Heritage Programme

ACCESSIBLE HERITAGE - Remote trans-continental heritage support system

Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London

Award holder - Dr Henoc Agbota


ACCESSIBLE HERITAGE - Remote trans-continental heritage support system

University College London

Dr T Agbota
Amount Awarded: £241,433.00

The interdisciplinary project "ACCESSIBLE HERITAGE - Remote trans-continental heritage support system" aims to develop and deploy on heritage sites a wireless network of long-life and remote environmental monitoring devices and to develop an associated policy framework promoting local data ownership.

In line with the hybrid nature of the project, innovation is on several levels: from a technical point of view, the project will ensure the durability of sensor arrays and their sensitivity to principal ambient pollutants, which has not been achieved before in heritage monitoring. From the point of view of heritage management, one of the principal innovations of the project will be the way how data are owned, accessed, and fed into heritage site management plans. This research will be done in collaboration with the English Heritage partner. Thus, there is clear innovation from the scientific point of view, which is led by heritage questions.

The experimental development will include the design and calibration of sensors arrays, including modification to enable direct monitoring of pollutants and climate data. In parallel, a wireless communication device will be developed with a microcontroller to sample the signals and to control the radio communications. A communication protocol to collect sensor data from local devices into a gateway or sink device will be developed, which will feed the data onto the web. The updated sensor data, as well as the history of collected data from several heritage sites across three continents will be available globally on the project website, designed in collaboration with heritage partners.

The deployments are scheduled within the three year duration of the fellowship programme. The selected sites are in UK, Africa and Asia in collaboration with English Heritage and UNESCO. The availability of such data will enable us to monitor and analyse the heritage climate and to implement the findings in view of the threats imposed by climate change. There is a real potential for the network to grow beyond the lifetime of the project thus maximising its impact and legacy of the programme.

The project host organisation is University College London (UCL) with three collaborating departments: UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and UCL London Centre for Nanotechnology, while the project will be based at UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage. The project partners include English Heritage, which will play a key role in issues related to policy development, data ownership and access to data, especially in the international context. The Government of the Republic of Benin has expressed its support, while a representative of UNESCO World Heritage Centre (East Asia and the Pacific Unit) will act in an advisory capacity.