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New geodatabase of Jordan’s heritage sites under development — official

By Hana Namrouqa - Nov 30,2017 - Last updated at Dec 01,2017

AMMAN — A new version of the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) Jordan is under development to serve as a user-friendly web-based geospatial information system on the country’s archaeological and heritage sites, according to a senior government official.

The new version, called “Arches Jordan”, will provide researchers and the public with coordinates and data on all of Jordan’s registered archaeological sites, buildings, structures, landscapes and heritage ensembles or districts, the official said.

“The Department of Antiquities [DoA] and Getty Conservation Institute [GCI] are now in the process of developing Arches Jordan which will be available as a bilingual system,” DoA Director General Monther Jamhawi said.

Jamhawi underlined that the new system will share with the public the history of the country’s registered archaeological and heritage sites in terms of dates of discovery, research and excavations on the site, among other data. 

Arches Jordan will be the third phase of MEGA Jordan, according to Jamhawi.

Launched in 2011, MEGA Jordan is a web-based Geographic Information System that documents and protects the Kingdom’s archaeological sites by enabling decision makers at the municipal, governorate and national levels to coordinate and reduce the potential impact of modern developments on the remnants of the Kingdom.

MEGA Jordan is a joint initiative by the GCI, the DoA and the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

Arches Jordan project’s website indicated that, during the development of the MEGA system, the GCI and WMF received many inquiries from heritage organisations around the world interested in using MEGA.

“This interest led the GCI and WMF to develop a user-fr Jerash Mayor Ali Gogazeh voiced his appreciation of the British government iendly, low-cost, web-based geospatial information system for the international heritage field, designed to help the inventory and management of all types of immovable heritage, including archaeological sites, buildings, structures, landscapes, and heritage ensembles or districts,” according to Arches Jordan project’s website. 

Jamhawi said that the system provides data on Jordan’s 27,000-28,000 registered archaeological sites, noting that there are some 100,000 documented archaeological sites across the country.

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