GIS-Web application of the Historical Centre of Bucharest e GISpat Bucharest

For over 4 years, the National Institute of the Historical Monuments (INMI) - Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs has been in the process of capturing and maintaining a database of 23624 archaeological sites, called the official ”List of Historical Monuments” (LHM 2004). In 2005, INMI decided to replace an existing tabular only system stored in Microsoft Access application with an advanced server based-applications of GIS technology. The lack of the national information system regarding to the national cultural heritage represent the main argument for the implementation of this centrally managed GIS system.
    The main purpose of this project is to provide an coherent GIS system, in accordance with the actually legislation for cultural heritage resources, and to create a unique network between the following organizations: NIHM, INMI, Cultural Counties Direction, and the Direction for Historical Monuments from Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs that are involved in the updating process of the national heritage resources inventory. This challenge allowed defining a strategy and better decisional support for the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs and making an easier access to the primary information related to the historical monuments, their unique code, locations, age determination, etc.
    To accomplish this goal, ESRI Romania has built the Romanian Archaeological Sites and Historical monuments Inventory Application - eGISpat, to provide a centrally managed GIS system to maintain and advanced analysis a national-wide historical monuments geodatabase.
    eGISpat was designed using a server based solution that provides a powerful, fully integrated, multi-user architecture leveraging the latest technology including ArcGIS Server 9.1, ArcSDE 9.1, ArcGIS Desktop 9.1, and Microsoft SQL Server. ArcGIS Server, ArcSDE and the geodatabase model provide a centralized multiuser mechanism for managing and sharing all the information related to the monuments and archaeological sites stored in Microsoft SQL Server.
    B. History
The historical centre of the city of Bucharest was determined and legally declared as a protected area in 2001, according to criteria corresponding to certain city planning process and architectural values.
    The historic centre area contains archaeological monuments and sites dating back to the medieval age, among which we could mention the medieval ensemble “Curtea Veche” (representing The Old Royal Court), churches and inns built before the year 1800. Most monuments date back to the second half of the 19th century. They have been complemented by some of the most original monuments during the inter-war period. We should note that a great number of the historical monuments had been built on or include parts of cellars of the older constructions (dating from the 17th - 18th century).
    The buildings inside the historical centre could be grouped in the following functional areas: commercial area (Lipscani and Calea Mosilor Streets), functional area (Calea Victoriei) and residential area (Stelea Spatarul and Radu Calomfirescu Streets). The archaeological monuments located in these areas present a large variety of architectural programs.
    Firstly, there is a royal residence area called “Curtea Veche” that represents the main pole of the medieval town, around which had developed the town fair, churches (Stavropoleos, Sf. Gheorghe Nou, Sf. Gheorghe Vechi, Coltea, Doamnei), inns which proved for centuries to “live long” and be very expedient (Hanul lui Manuc, Hanul cu Tei, Hanul Polonezilor, Hanul Patria), houses with shops at the ground floor and lodgings above (Lipscani Street, Calea Mosilor, Selari and Smardan Streets), dwelling places (the “round-windowed house” 15 Radu Calomfirescu Street), public and cultural institutions built-up between the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, hospitals (Coltea, PTTR-the hospital of the Romanian Postal Services), commercial arcades (the Macca-Villacrosse arcades and the French passage way), and hotels (Fieschi Hotel).
    The built-on fund has been renewed in despite of severe damages (a great fire incident in 1847, several earthquakes) or due to new city planning and architectural programs requiring larger spaces. Curtea Veche exhibits the medieval construction system dating back to the 15th - 16th century, decorative elements from Brancovenian age and other representative monuments for the same age and the churches Coltea, Razvan and Stravopoleos, that are true architectural pearls.
    Web GIS application of the Historical Centre - eGISpat Bucharest
INMI is currently involved in developing a GIS project for the Historical centre of Bucharest that will represent a planning tool to help planners and preservationists to better assess historical and cultural resources in Bucharest. The pilot project takes into consideration the applicability of GIS technology for spatial data analysis and also for a better monitoring of the national LHM.
    The technical team and ESRI Romania decided to build a web GIS application - eGISpat Bucharest using ArcGIS Server technology and incorporate the historic resources geodatabase, a digital map scale 1:2.000, IKONOS satellite imagery courtesy of GeoEye, representative setting, registration files, plans photographs, building footprints, streets, sidewalks, rivers, etc.

Dana Mihai
Scientific Director Of National Institute of Historical Monuments, Bucharest