The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT) and Finmeccanica have sealed an agreement whereby the Group will donate innovative technologies and services for monitoring and protecting the archaeological site of Pompeii. Through its companies, Selex ES and Telespazio, Finmeccanica is contributing its technological know-how free of charge, to those responsible for the protection and enhancement of one of the world’s most famous and fragile archaeological sites. Finmeccanica’s commitment provides evidence of the Group’s desire to give prominence and importance to the restoration of cultural treasures of particular interest, while being totally in line with Finmeccanica’s ongoing mission in the field of high technology. The decision to focus on Pompeii derives, on the one hand, from the urgent nature of the challenges facing the site, and on other hand from the desire to restore to the Campania region - where the Finmeccanica Group employs over 6,000 people in the various controlled companies operating in this area - some of the technological research in which the Group heavily invests. This agreement has seen the active involvement, not only of Selex ES and Telespazio, but also of all the institutional bodies concerned (MiBACT, the Great Pompeii Project, the Special Superintendence for the Archaeological Heritage of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, Directorate-General for Antiquities) in an open exchange of ideas within a process of productive collaboration.
Summary of the solutions for Pompeii
In support of those responsible for the protection and enhancement of the ruins of Pompeii, the Finmeccanica Group will donate to the said site the innovative services and technologies indentified in the agreement signed with MiBACT. This agreement has seen the active involvement not only of Selex ES and Telespazio, but also of all the institutional bodies concerned (MiBACT, the Great Pompeii Project, the Special Superintendence for the Archaeological Heritage of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, Directorate-General for Antiquities ) in an open exchange of ideas within a process of productive collaboration.
The proposals are the result of a series of investigations commenced in December 2013.
To the purpose, a multidisciplinary team identified three main areas of priority:
- risks of hydrogeological instability
- operational management of the site
- constructions and structure diagnoses
Risks of hydrogeological instability
As a back-up to site stability control, Finmeccanica will supply site operators with innovative instruments which will display (also on mobile devices) the results of satellite interferometric monitoring and in-situ surveying carried out using a network of wireless sensors, designed to identify slow movements of terrains and structures. Finmeccanica will develop a complete system to cover the entire process ranging from data acquisition to the use of the information acquired, through a dedicated platform.
Telespazio’s interferometric monitoring services provides data on the slow movement of terrains and constructions both on the whole site of Pompeii and in the surrounding areas (for a total coverage of approximately 10 km²), thus making it possible to analyse also the context surrounding the area of the ruins so that those in charge can plan preventive or emergency measures.
The service uses data provided by the Italian satellite constellation COSMO-SkyMed, controlled by the Italian Space Agency, equipped with synthetic-aperture radar sensors which can capture images of the Earth both by day and night and in all weather conditions. COSMO-SkyMed data is characterized by exceptionally high geometric ground resolution making it possible to perform regular monitoring of soil movements.
The service involves two stages: historical analysis of the trend in movements of the surveyed points over a period of approximately two years prior to the commencement of works and a monthly monitoring service for the three-year duration of the agreement. Since the technique implemented is based on satellite surveying, it makes it possible to monitor with extreme accuracy the slow movements of points located within the area under examination (estimated density over 10,000 points per km²). A second series of data will be provided by “early warning” wireless networks set up by Selex ES which can give information in real time on specific areas of the site. The overall service will be made available via the Internet, through the infrastructure provided by e-GEOS, and will therefore be accessible through a web browser. Access to the information will be controlled by a security profiling system. Users with right of access will be managed directly by MiBACT whose personnel will be trained on how to use the platform by Finmeccanica.
Smart supports for better site operation
This aspect covers the activation of a secure system for the interoperability of mobile radio communi¬cations for the archaeological site and implementation of collaborative apps available on the smartphones of predefined users (security officers, technical bodies, etc.).
The system allows the security officers, provided with radio equipment (both analogue and TETRA) to communicate in an integrated manner, ensuring maximum coordination in the execution of control and prevention activities within the site. The reference technology is TETRA supplied by Selex ES, specifically defined for security and territorial control applications. Professional radio equipment specifically designed for the purpose will be supplied.
The Smart Apps consist of a collaborative service for friend users (site operators, security officers) which, via a smartphone app, makes it possible to send alarms or messages for promptly reporting any anomalous situations or requesting immediate assistance (e.g. acts of vandalism/damage to structures, medical assistan¬ce or security service intervention).
Thanks to this application the user is pin-pointed in the archaeological site of Pompeii and his/her position, as well as the type of intervention requested, is immediately communicated to the operators in the control room who then activate the necessary measures involving the relevant competent organizations.
Construction and structure diagnoses
Finmeccanica, thanks to a Selex ES product, has given the representatives of the archaeological site the possibility of providing a remote sensing service on the ground using hyperspectral imaging instruments for acquiring images and spectral signatures of the different materials and chemical components present in those areas identified as critical or of interest by the experts and managers of the Pompeii site.
This instrument gives the bodies responsible for preserving artistic heritage not only those elements needed to perform diagnosis for planning appropriate interventions but also documentation with a high information content derived from the hyperspectral datum (pseudo-colour mapping and classification).
The collected data is subsequently processed and made available to MiBACT technicians for consulta¬tion and analyses and will make up a digital archive of the monitored structures.
The technological innovations offered, the non-invasive nature of the solutions adopted and the experience gained allow Finmeccanica to act as interlocutor for the institutions responsible for protecting cultural heritage on an international scale, using the indisputable cultural tradition of our country as leverage.