Context 168 - June 2021

C O N T E X T 1 6 8 : J U N E 2 0 2 1 15 DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY An Antarctic case study Established in 1993, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) is tasked with the mission of preserving the remains of over 70 years of British scientific exploration and research on the Antarctic Peninsula. Faced with the hostile conditions of the Antarctic climate, katabatic winds, freezing temperatures and sea ice, even getting the more than five tonnes of equipment to these remote bases is an accomplishment. In the face of such adversities, UKAHT has taken on the challenge of managing six historic sites and monuments, and has embarked on a comprehensive survey, conservation and mainte- nance programme of the buildings and artefacts. UKAHT’s portfolio had been managed prior to this with what can be best described as ad hoc maintenance work. Basic historic reports were used as guiding documents for conservation decisions and repair philosophy, and conserva- tion work was recorded in annual worklists and end-of-season reports. With the appointment of a new CEO in 2014, it was decided to establish a more informed and managed approach to the conservation of the sites within the portfolio, and to how the trust executed its responsibilities. Most important was the trust’s ambition to col- late a comprehensive set of base data about the historic sites, including measured survey, condi- tion survey, material sampling, digital recording and artefact audit. Central to achieving these aims would be the development of a new digital data management system. A pilot study was developed to consider the BIM concept of component-based parametric modelling and the application of data param- eters to produce structured data sets for heritage asset management. The addition of bespoke ‘conservation’ data parameters, such as element condition, significance and urgency of repair/ maintenance, can be used as a visual planning tool within the model. It is particularly useful for analysing and interrogating data for the planning of programmes of conservation repair. This data can be extracted in a structured format to be added to the digital asset information model (AIM), and it can be imported into existing property management systems offering a single source of validated data to support asset man- agement activities. The site used for the pilot study is on Stonington Island, Antarctica. Base E, managed by the UKAHT, was first established as a base for exploration and research in 1946, and closed permanently in 1975. Opposite and below: Base E, Stonington Island, was a base for exploration and research from 1946 to 1975. Photogrammetry processing of the generator shed at Stonington Island. The image illustrates data being processed in software and the resultant on-screen model. The blue boxes indicate the camera locations as the surveyor moves around the building taking a series of photographs (Photo: British Antarctic Survey)