The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), working with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities (DoA) wanted to develop a new national geographic information system (GIS) to assist the department in inventorying, monitoring, and managing the thousands of archaeological sites in Jordan. The database would be the primary planning and decision-making tool for the DoA, addressing its needs and demands related to the legal protection of sites, site management, infrastructure and development control, World Heritage requirements, and development of national and regional research strategies. Infrastructure and development control are especially crucial, permitting the DoA to assess the potential impact of planned development (urban sprawl, roadways, pipelines, reservoirs, construction of buildings, etc.) on archaeological sites.
Farallon evaluated requirements from all stakeholders, and will develop the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) – Jordan. This will be a Web-based, bilingual (Arabic-English) system that will be used by inspectors, archaeologists, scholars, and government planners involved in cultural heritage management and research. The functional prototype for the GIS and mapping interface will be developed by Farallon and implemented in the spring of 2009, with the final MEGA-Jordan system scheduled for deployment in the fall of 2009. The open source software technologies will include PostGIS and GeoServer along with a public mapping front-end such as Google Maps.
The scalable solution will subsequently be adapted for use in Iraq and possibly other countries in the region.
The MEGA-Jordan GIS features include:
- Ability to track the location and spatial extent of antiquities sites and the cultural elements (such as archeologically significant relics) that may be present at a site
- Easy-to-use, map-based user interface that does not require GIS knowledge or extensive technical training for general use
- Use of freely available or open source software technologies to minimize maintenance costs
- Capability of presenting information in both English and Standard Arabic
- Flexibility to accommodate new or customized business processes that users may wish to deploy in the future