Book Launch

The IHSE 2020 event saw the launch of two edited books on Indian Heritage in Digital Space.

This book named “Digital Hampi : Preserving Indian Cultural Heritage” represents the culmination of a hugely successful heritage preservation project initiated by the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology. It presents extensive research on the digital preservation of the history, mythology, art, architecture and culture of the world heritage site Hampi in Karnataka, the seat of the Vijayanagara dynasty in medieval India. Further, the book introduces readers to a range of techniques developed by Indian technical research groups for digitally preserving both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the region. These techniques are sufficiently generic to be applied in heritage preservation efforts for other historical sites around the world as well.

It is the consolidation of work conducted under the Indian Digital Heritage project, a unique initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India. The project involved collaboration between researchers in the areas of Technology, Computer Science, Architecture and the Humanities for the digital documentation and interpretation of India’s tangible and intangible heritage. It highlights the art, architecture, and cultural legacy of the world heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka, the medieval capital of the 14th-16th century Vijayanagara dynasty. More details about the book and the participating institutes can be seen at the website www.digitalhampi.in

The contributors to this book are scientists and technology experts from prominent academic institutes in India such as the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), IIIT(International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad), and NID (National Institute of Design) working in collaboration with some of India’s top architects, art historians, anthropologists, heritage groups and multi-disciplinary cultural institutions such as the NIAS (National Institute of Advanced Studies).

The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 details efforts and techniques for modeling and representing the tangible heritage of Hampi, such as the reconstruction of damaged structures, realistic walk-throughs, and haptic rendering. Part 2 includes chapters detailing the analysis and digital restoration of artifacts such as mural paintings, inscriptions and sculptures, as well as mobile-based visual search for artifacts. Part 3 includes chapters on conjectural re-constructions of the architectural life, social life and traditions of Hampi. Lastly, Part 4 addresses the knowledge-based archiving and exploration of cultural heritage.

This book presents a unique guide to heritage preservation problems and the corresponding state-of-the-art digital techniques to achieve their plausible solutions. It covers various methods, ranging from data acquisition and digital imaging to computational methods for reconstructing the original (pre-damaged) appearance of heritage artefacts. The case studies presented here are mostly drawn from India’s tangible and non-tangible heritage, which is very rich and multi-dimensional. The contributing authors have been working in their respective fields for years and present their methods so lucidly that they can be easily reproduced and implemented by general practitioners of heritage curation. The preservation methods, reconstruction methods, and corresponding results are all illustrated with a wealth of colour figures and images.

The book consists of sixteen chapters that are divided into five broad sections, namely (i) Digital System for Heritage Preservation, (ii) Signal and Image Processing, (iii) Audio and Video Processing, (iv) Image and Video Database, and (v) Architectural Modelling and Visualization. The first section presents various state-of-the-art tools and technologies for data acquisition including an interactive graphical user interface (GUI) annotation tool and a specialized imaging system for generating the realistic visual forms of the artefacts. Numerous useful methods and algorithms for processing vocal, visual and tactile signals related to heritage preservation are presented in the second and third sections. In turn, the fourth section provides two important image and video databases, catering to members of the computer vision community with an interest in the domain of digital heritage. Finally, examples of reconstructing ruined monuments on the basis of historic documents are presented in the fifth section. In essence, this book offers a pragmatic appraisal of the uses of digital technology in the various aspects of preservation of tangible and intangible heritages.

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