Laura Faucher Reports back on the APT Conference in Quebec: Drones, Field Documentation, and Apps for Architects
This past Fall, PVN’s Laura Faucher attended the Association for Preservation Technology (APT) conference in Quebec City, Quebec. APT is an international and interdisciplinary organization whose “mission is to advance the application of traditional and contemporary technology appropriate to conservation of the built environment and the cultural resources that contribute to its significance.” Said another way, APT focuses on the technology of how to preserve things.
The theme of the conference in Quebec City was “metissage,” which translates to “the fruitful encounter of differences.” The conference included thematic paper sessions and workshops.
Laura attended the two day workshop on field documentation, which focused on the technological tools available for assessing and documenting historic buildings. There are many new apps for smartphones and tablets that allow the user to record measurements and conditions while in the field. Laura anticipates that apps like UPAD, which is a note taking app that allows users to annotate photographs and PDFs on a tablet device, will be very valuable and time-saving to PVN on site visits, during survey work, and while conducting archival research.
More neoteric forms of technology were also presented at the conference. Laura was particularly impressed with the ways that photogrammetry—which uses photographs to make measurements and is useful in determining the exact position of surface points—might be helpful in the documentation and preservation of complicated buildings, such as industrial sites, where mechanical systems are a key part of the building’s historic significance. A demonstration of drone technology highlighted a new way to photograph areas of a building that are difficult to access.
The use of technology presents some interesting opportunities for very exacting documentation that can be conducted more quickly, but it also has the potential to add costs. Laura noted that part of our role is to help our clients determine the level of detail that is needed for a project and the most efficient way to gather this data. A further consideration is how and where the data will be stored for future reference, particularly given the ever-changing nature of technology.