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Overview

INSIGHT works to document and visualize the human record.

As cultural heritage specialists, INSIGHT acts as a bridge between the disciplines of archaeology, art history, computer graphics, and computer vision.  For the general public, INSIGHT fosters interest in archaeology through the lively digital media we create.

INSIGHT has organized digital cultural heritage projects in collaboration with La Mission Archéologique Française de Thèbes-Ouest (the French Mission to Thebes-West), École française d’Athènes (The French School in Athens), The National Science Foundation, United States National Parks Service and California State Parks, CyArk , the American Research Center in Egypt Egyptian Antiquities Project (Cairo), the Gebel el Silsila Epigraphic Project,  the Institute for Nautical Archaeology (Alexandria), and others.

INSIGHT frequently works with museums, including the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and Chabot Space and Science Center, the Egyptian Antiquities Dept. of the British Museum (London), the Metropolitan Art Museum’s Egyptian Art Dept. (New York), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), LACMA, the de Young Museum, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

INSIGHT has contributed to research projects at Sorbonne UniversitéCairo University, the University of Trinidad and Tabago, Lulea University (Sweden), and UC Berkeley. among others.

The sciences have never been richer in data.

From static formulas to dynamic simulations, science is shifting. Archaeologists use digital proxies both for scientific study and as a hedge against the destruction of artifacts. Climate scientists see the world through data, and see their data through visualizations. Marine biologists discover new species in the deep sea using remote data collection at great depths. Building engineers manipulate digital jig saw pieces in simulated space before transforming the actual world.

INSIGHT seeks out scientists with questions that can benefit from visualization.  INSIGHT has spent two decades collaborating towards diverse projects worldwide, often crossing discipline boundaries.  We work with museums, universities, foundations, and fellow non-profit organizations.  We build web sites for data dissemination, present at peer-reviewed conferences, and support technology transfer and training.

Background

INSIGHT is a California non-profit organization dedicated to documenting the human record for the benefit of researchers and the general public.  We currently focus on bringing computer vision techniques to the work of archaeologists and other researchers in the disciplines that comprise the world heritage field. INSIGHT provides a practical framework for the intelligent application of visualization for sciences and the humanities.  While INSIGHT’s foremost responsibility is to researchers, educational and museum work also an area of interest.

Cultural Heritage Visualization

Recording the past with the tools of the future, INSIGHT was founded to extend the visualization capabilities of scientists and foster education in visualization, with an emphasis on digital cultural heritage.  INSIGHT provides advanced visualization and documentation tools for established scientific fieldwork.  Staffed with specialists in both archaeology and visual computing, the INSIGHT team fills the useful role of “translator” between the normally exclusive worlds of technology and heritage.  INSIGHT provides relevant digital tools to researchers and work with specialists to develop visualizations.  Since current technologies are often too expensive for research budgets, INSIGHT believes it is crucial to provide free access to equipment and techniques on a ‘pilot’ basis.  INSIGHT also provides a research lens through which these digital tools can be profitably viewed.

In a world where time is running out for many heritage sites, INSIGHT is working to speed the process of site documentation.  INSIGHT both develops new tools and adapts digital documentation methods for archaeological use.  Innovative use of space sampling is at the core of all INSIGHT project work, including the use of digital photography, computer modeling, and laser scanning.

INSIGHT Core Principles

  1. INSIGHT exists to extend the range of visualization tools currently available to archaeologists and related researchers. INSIGHT offers: access to technical and archaeological expertise, training in digital techniques to speed the documentation of endangered sites, and peer advocacy in the development of new technologies.
  2. INSIGHT is chartered to provide a lasting repository for research data, including its own.  Through comprehensive web publication, the INSIGHT Permanent Archive is open to both research and general consumption. INSIGHT supports documentation work free of the “editorial” context generated by hand drawings.  The following uses are specifically enabled, using the Permanent Archive as a means to:
  • Create physical duplicates where desired
  • Assist in inspection of loaned artifacts
  • Create a visual database for large fragment collections
  • Allow researchers to study a virtual surrogate whose detail fidelity is comparable to the original
  1. INSIGHT works to foster new opportunities for museum presentation, including reconstruction and animation, where appropriate.  INSIGHT supports the use of computers to present complex information directly to the general public.  The use of imaginative animation is specifically favored as a means to pass lively views of ancient life to modern viewers.
  2. INSIGHT places an emphasis on presentation of data for education.
  3. INSIGHT strives to employ technology only where it is fit for use.  INSIGHT work is open to and reliant upon peer review.
Story
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Jean-Luc Martinez, an archaeologist with the Musée du Louvre, asked the INSIGHT team to help document and reconstruct a fragmentary column from the Temple of...
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When the University of San Francisco set out to reassemble a historic Portuguese portal from a pile of stone fragments, they knew they’d found a...
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