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Global Heritage Fund Launches Innovative Early Warning and Threat Monitoring System for Cultural Heritage Sites in Developing Countries

March 15, 2011


GHF Press Relations
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Global Heritage Fund Launches Innovative Early Warning and Threat Monitoring System for Cultural Heritage Sites in
Developing Countries

Global Heritage Network (GHN) Enables Worldwide Expert and
Stakeholder Collaboration Using Satellite Imaging Technologies
to Save Earth’s Most Significant and
Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites

PALO ALTO, CA, March 15, 2011 – Global Heritage Fund (GHF) today launched Global Heritage Network (GHN), the first early warning and threat monitoring system exclusively devoted to saving endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries.

“GHN serves as an early warning system for our irreplaceable global heritage sites on the brink of being lost by engaging a broad community of conservators, archaeologists, local communities, government officials, donors, and volunteers to save our global heritage for future generations,” said Jeff Morgan, Executive Director of GHF.

Using Google Earth and social networking, combined with scientific mapping from Esri, satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe and imagery analysis software from ITT Visual Information Solutions, GHN enables international experts, local communities, funders, volunteers and travelers to help protect, preserve and sustain global heritage sites facing accelerating and simultaneous threats in developing countries.

“Advances in satellite imagery make it possible to regularly monitor and analyze the impact of the business, market, environmental and political changes that impact people around the world,” said DigitalGlobe Chairman and CEO Jill Smith. “Now, working with the Global Heritage Fund and its partners, we can use our high tech witnesses in the sky for an even greater purpose, and help the fund’s work to protect and preserve some of the most ancient sites in the world.”

GHN is comprised of a geospatial database using Google Earth, high-resolution satellite imagery and detailed mapping of the most significant archaeological and cultural heritage sites in the world’s poorest countries, while the GHN Community is a growing social network of professionals that enables discussion and contribution of up-to-date documentation of threats and conservation efforts at global heritage sites.

“GHN enables our conservation team to work together with international experts and local community leaders to conserve sites like Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia’s leading nomination for UNESCO World Heritage designation”, said John Sanday OBE FSA, Director of the Banteay Chhmar project. “Our Khmer conservation team can now work closely with international experts around the world to monitor threats and propose innovative solutions to save one of Southeast Asia’s most significant heritage sites.”

Threats reported from the field by professional site monitors, international experts, local communities, volunteers and travelers. DigitalGlobe has donated multi-year satellite imagery for 600 sites at the highest resolution available and Esri has donated advanced mapping software for GHN site conservation teams valued at nearly $1 million.

“At Esri, we believe that technology can empower every person to make a difference in the world, and geographic information systems like Global Heritage Network gives them the needed information to accomplish large-scale conservation and development,” said Jack Dangermond, Founder, President and CEO of Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri). “We are proud to support Global Heritage Fund and applaud their innovative approach to global heritage conservation. GHF’s new technology-based Global Heritage Network will enable it to scale and amplify the value of its own critical work to protect, preserve and sustain global heritage sites in developing countries.”

GHN uses Preservation by Design® methodology to protect, preserve and sustain each global heritage site through an integrated process of master planning, scientific conservation, community development and partnerships for co-funding and sustainability. Heritage conservation leaders need sustained assistance from outside experts to be successful in the preservation process, but often these heroes in conservation work in difficult, remote locations. GHN provides the first collaborative platform needed to enable the long-term preservation of endangered global heritage sites, which have the potential to generate over $100 billion in visitor revenues annually by 2025, in addition to millions of dollars in new jobs, business and investment opportunities.

“Preservation of key heritage sites is critical for our learning as a society, and we at ITT Visual Information Solutions are pleased to support Global Heritage Fund’s efforts to create a global conservation mindset for historic sites,” said Richard Cooke, President of ITT Visual Information Solutions. “Image and data analysis technologies play a vital role in GHF’s philosophy to improve the long term success of conservation efforts around the world by applying the latest technologies to improve planning methods and encourage community involvement. We salute and support GHF in its mission.”

For more information, see:

Global Heritage Network (GHN)

Most Endangered Global Heritage Sites from Space – Satellite Imagery Briefing

GHN Overview Brochure

About Global Heritage Network (GHN)