United States Government Supports Geomatics Conference on Cultural Heritage Conservation

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

AMMAN (April 18, 2017) – The United States Government (USG) supported Jordan’s first Conference on the Application of Geomatics Engineering in Environmental and Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management.

The conference was made possible through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Sustainable Cultural Heritage through the Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP).

“Jordan is on the cutting edge of these new and exciting technologies. I’m proud that Jordan is taking the lead in adopting and teaching these techniques. They’re vital to protecting our cultural heritage,” said H.E. Dr. Monther Jamhawi, Director General of the Department of Antiquities in his opening address. Qais Tawaisi, a conference  participant also noted, “Seeing all the new tools we have – it’s really inspiring.”

“Jordan’s 100,000 archaeological sites are important pieces of the history of human civilization, but they also have the potential to serve as catalysts for economic development in some of Jordan’s most impoverished communities,” said Russell Bauer, Director of the Economic Development and Energy Office at USAID Jordan.

The conference brought together experts from nine universities to discuss techniques such as aerial and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imaging, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and various geometric tools that can be utilized to protect cultural heritage, as well as ways to combat environmental and urbanization issues. The conference featured  11 lectures, along with a field visit to nearby Umm al Jimal, a prehistoric location supported by USAID SCHEP that has been consistently inhabited since the time of the Nabataeans.

Additionally, SCHEP provides workshops on the geomatic frameworks necessary for archeological and cultural heritage preservation. SCHEP is currently running an intensive Diploma Course in Archaeological Surveying and Cultural Heritage for employees of the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP) and the Department of Antiquities (DOA), all of whom were present at the geomatics conference.

USAID SCHEP is a four-year project dedicated to economic and community development through cultural heritage preservation and education in underserved communities. The project is currently working in nine sites: Umm al Jimal, Ghawr as Safi, Busayra, Petra, Bayt Ra’s in Irbid, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Madaba and Bir Madhkur in Wadi Araba.

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided foreign assistance from the American people to Jordan for more than 60 years.