Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, ARQUEOLÓGICA 2.0 - 8th International Congress on Archaeology, Computer Graphics, Cultural Heritage and Innovation

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Michiel Decock, Cornelis Stal, Samuel Van Ackere, Annelies Vandenbulcke, Philippe De Maeyer, Alain De Wulf

Last modified: 21-09-2016


The knowledge of the submerged cultural heritage in the North Sea is rather limited. The Belgian North Sea is being used for a lot of different purposes, such as fishing, aggregate extraction, wind farms, dredging, etc. Due to these increasing economic activities, the underwater archive is in danger. In the context of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001, gathering more information about the submerged cultural heritage in the intertidal zones of the North Sea is one of the main objectives of the Belgian scientific project ‘SeArch’. It will give a clearer picture of the broader cultural and archaeological heritage in the region and it can be used as a basis for a sustainable management by government agencies. The Department of Geography (Ghent University, Belgium) contributes to the SeArch project in two ways. First, an innovative survey methodology has been developed which allows an accurate and cost-efficient evaluation of the archaeological potential in the intertidal zones of the Belgian beaches. Secondly, the Department of Geography is developing an interactive webGIS platform, which makes it possible to share, integrate and visualize the gathered archaeological and environmental data and information in a user-friendly way. Hereby, the total potential of this project is fully exploited in a time-efficient manner. To create an interactive webGIS platform, a good structured spatial database is needed. It enables manipulation of a wide variety of georeferenced information in both raster and vector formats. This paper provides more information about the configuration and application of the spatial database. Moreover, it focusses on the development of a fully functional Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) using the most reliable, powerful and state-of-the-art technological components. Besides, a new  way of collecting geomatic data in a fast and accurate manner will be discussed. Some processing results will show the possibilities for detecting and visualizing underground structures and archaeological objects.

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