Call for Papers

Chairs: Irmela HERZOG | Eleftheria PALIOU
(LVR-Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, Germany | University of Cologne, Germany)

Keywords: viewshed analysis, visual prominence, visual communication networks, visibility analysis in built spaces

For a World Heritage Site, the largest buffer zone considered when assessing its quality covers every location that is in the viewshed of this site as far as the horizon. Large scale interventions are to be avoided in this buffer zone and may result in the removal from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. This session aims at exploring visual aspects of cultural heritage sites and objects by applying computational methods. Currently a variety of approaches to formal visibility analysis are available to archaeologists and heritage experts for assessing visual properties of cultural landscapes and built environments. Increasingly more sophisticated methods for analysing visual aspects have been introduced in recent years. These include methods for estimating the probability and uncertainty of perceiving cultural objects, landmarks, or travellers by considering the blocking effects of vegetation cover, errors in digital elevation data, and distance decay. Viewshed analysis has been used to date to address a variety of research questions related to the choice of a site’s location, the visual prominence of monuments and the structure of past visual communication networks. An important advantage of these methods is that results can be supported by rigorous statistical testing. Besides viewshed analyses, more recently vector-based GIS methods for visibility analysis have been employed in studies that aim at taking fuller into account the three-dimensional properties of built spaces. Such methods allow the creation of more precise visibility indices of 3D reconstructed archaeological spaces that could offer insights into the visual experience of past people. Furthermore, these approaches can better support assessments of how the vertical features of a planned building impact on views from or to a heritage site.

This session invites papers that discuss applications of GIS-based visibility analysis in cultural landscapes and built environments.
We would especially like to encourage works on new approaches to the study of visual space and contributions that aim to bring to the front theoretical aspects of human visual perception in cultural heritage sites. Presentations exploring the visual properties of cultural spaces using other methods, such as space syntax (e.g. 2D or 3D isovists, visibility graphs) and formal lighting analysis, are also welcome.

Send us your submission until September 3, 2021