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What is Heritage Surveying and Why is it Important?

Do you ever look at ancient structures and try to imagine the life that used to be there? Or do you feel curious to know the stories that lie hidden within the historical monuments? We are sure that some of you must have also wondered if the legacy of our ancestors can be preserved somehow. If that’s correct, then know that you have come to the right place. Our today’s blog focuses on understanding what a heritage survey is and why it’s important. So, let’s dive right into it without further ado.

What is Heritage Surveying?

In easy-to-understand words, heritage surveying is a systematic process of examining and documenting historical sites, structures and artifacts. Heritage surveying happens to cover a variety of disciplines such as archaeology, architecture and geographic information systems (GIS). In addition to that heritage surveying also encompasses the conservation of such historical sites and artifacts. Heritage surveys not only provide insightful information on the historical significance of sites but also ensure their protection & conservation.

Why is Heritage Surveying Important?

Conducting heritage surveys serves businesses and the masses in different ways. It is safe to say that these surveys bridge the gap between the past and present. Here is what happens when a heritage survey is conducted:

The data collected through a heritage survey allows the younger generations to connect with their ancestors by having access to human history. Furthermore, researchers can also access the data to learn several things about lifestyles and belief systems.

In addition to that, the technological advancements of past civilizations can also be examined and documented. As we have already mentioned before; heritage surveys are crucial for heritage management and conservation. Along with that, these historic building surveys facilitate stakeholders in informed decision-making to preserve cultural heritage.

1. The Need for Preserving Cultural Heritage

We are sure that you guys must be wondering why is there a need to preserve cultural heritage. Allow us to mention that it is more than just important. Here is why: every cultural heritage is an invaluable source to connect generations that are centuries apart. And, of course, the elements of the cultural heritage depict numerous stories from preceding generations. One of the best things about preserving cultural heritage is that it allows communities and individuals to connect to their roots. And if they’re curious, they would very much like to understand where they come from, you know.

But that doesn’t mean that the intricate artifacts or architectural gems are safe from urban development or natural disasters. No, they are not. In every country, cultural heritage is almost always vulnerable to several types of threats which can include disputes among two parties. Or even between governments and the common people of the country for that matter. If conflicts are not identified promptly, generations can witness the loss of their precious cultural heritage.

2. Heritage Surveys Promote Sustainable Development

In addition to preserving cultural heritage and enabling concerned individuals to make better choices, heritage surveys also promote sustainable development. Continue reading the blog to know how that happens!

After heritage surveying is done, stakeholders can understand the sites better. This not only promotes keeping the monuments, etc., safe from urban sprawl but also fosters socio-economic growth. No one can deny that cultural sites also serve as tourist spots. That means more and more tourists from around the world would be interested in visiting a site that has a significant history. When that happens, the local economies of the countries will be boosted – ultimately benefiting the communities at large.

The concerned authorities must utilize the datasets provided by heritage surveyors to preserve and promote cultural heritage. As a result, everyone will benefit because the economy will be stimulated. The employability rate will increase, and lifestyles will improve. All of that is possible when governments and local bodies work together to invest in heritage surveying while also protecting the cultural heritage.

In this part of the blog, we would like to discuss how heritage surveys are conducted. We are sure that once you’re done reading the blog, you’ll have learned quite a lot of things. So, keep reading!

How is a Heritage Survey Performed?

Various techniques are made the most of while performing heritage surveying. Since cultural heritage is extremely diverse, the methods and techniques used for surveying them are also diverse. We must also mention here that both traditional and advanced surveying methods are utilized to conduct heritage surveys. Allow us to mention the traditional and modern survey methods for heritage surveying:
Traditional Methods Advanced Methods
Terrestrial Laser Scanning Dendrochronology
Photogrammetry Ground-penetrating Radar
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)

The above-mentioned methods and techniques are employed to dig deeper into the archaeological features to get access to data that are not visible to the naked eye.
Know that by utilizing modern surveying methods, the researchers get access to highly detailed data. This data is, later on, incorporated into creating accurate digital models for monitoring and identifying threats, and challenges. When stakeholders have access to intricate details, they are in a better position to plan many things. Such as; urban planning & development, infrastructure improvement and preservation of the assets.

It’s important to mention that fieldwork is also required to conduct these kinds of surveys which are efficiently done by heritage building surveyors. Also, with technological advancements, a heritage surveyor can utilize drones to perform surveys. So, it’s like a combination of various methods and tools that help surveyors access sites and document the collected data.

Let’s explore the role of technology in improving the efficiency of heritage surveys!

Heritage Surveys and The Role of Technology

Like every other process, heritage surveying methods have been revolutionized by the advancement in technology. As we have mentioned earlier as well, drones are also used to perform heritage surveys. However, there is more to it. For example, technological advancements offer modern tools to perform surveys that ensure maximum accuracy and precision in results. And if we are being honest, manned tools cannot compete with the efficiency, accuracy and precision that is offered by advanced surveying methods. Not to forget that modern heritage surveying methods are safer than traditional ones. Allow us to explain what is meant by that. With the help of drones and remote sensing methods, heritage surveyors can access remote and hard-to-reach areas without any difficulty.

In addition, modern techniques also allow the creation of visual replicas of sites for rapid data acquisition. So, there is no chance of losing access to important data. The moment the stakeholders get access to the datasets they require, they start monitoring and analysing it for their personal and commercial projects.

Challenges in Heritage Surveying

Heritage surveying, no doubt, is crucial for understanding cultural sites but it also comes with several challenges. We would like to shed light on those challenges down below:

Budget constraints can majorly impact heritage surveys. In addition to that, resource allocation can also be a huge challenge in conducting heritage surveys. We would also like to mention that environmental degradation and rapid urbanization can also impact the efficiency of heritage surveys. Concerned authorities must take immediate measures to ensure the conservation and preservation of cultural heritage.

Although heritage surveyors have access to easily accessible areas, there are certain limitations attached to performing surveys. For example; the surveyors would require airspace permits especially if the surveys are to be conducted in restricted areas. This challenge is accompanied by logistical issues as well. And we must mention that in harsh weather conditions, the security of the surveyors might also be at risk.

That’s How We Roll at Survey2Plan:

Having talked about heritage surveying in detail, we would now like to share how we conduct heritage surveying at Survey2Plan. So, if you are looking to have a survey conducted, make sure to keep reading the blog to know more about our services.

1. UK-based Heritage Consultants

By being based in the UK, we know and fully understand local guidelines and regulations. Having a detailed knowledge of such complexities enables us to comply with the rules and implement the best surveying approaches. By doing so, we will get you the data that you require for sustainable future planning.

2. Cutting Edge Technology

At Survey2Plan, we incorporate cutting-edge technology and modern methods to conduct all sorts of surveys including heritage surveys. This practice allows us to ensure that you have access to precise and accurate data after the surveying has been conducted.

3. Dedicated Account Manager

We completely understand the importance of having a single Point of Contact (POC) for your projects. And that’s how we also ensure the smooth delivery of your projects – regardless of their scale. We assign dedicated account managers throughout the surveying process to ensure unmatched customer service.

4. Up to 10 Revisions

Yes, you read that right! All our approaches are designed to serve you with efficiency and accuracy. Our client-centric approach offers up to 10 revisions even after months have passed to make sure that your specific needs are met.

5. Honesty & Transparency

Honesty and transparency are at the core of Survey2Plan. This means that the quoted price is the same price you will pay. And we are sure that you won’t regret getting your surveys conducted through us.

Still not convinced? Feel free to reach out to us for a detailed heritage survey consultation.

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