Innovation has always played an important role in heritage conservation. The interdisciplinary requirements of the field have required professionals to think creatively and to employ a wide variety of techniques and methodologies. While disciplinary collaboration is well established, the technological revolution in the capture, analysis, and dissemination of information is evolving at a rapid pace requiring constant reevaluation of the goals and objectives of heritage documentation. Mainstream technology is now available that allows professionals to not only gather and process data precisely and efficiently, but also all on the same platform. This is a critical requirement as an increasing number of diverse specialists with their own language and data requirements contribute to the conservation project and a more informed public demands access to that information.
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Image: Painted Tower, Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde, 1934. Beginning in the 1930s, a team of American archaeologists, photographers, and architects developed a highly effective hybrid method of site documentation before and after intervention by combining the precision of large format photography with the conventions of architectural drawings. This annotated composite record anticipates the later requirements of heritage documentation which was first realized through transparent photo-mechanical overlays and today digital media such as geographic information systems. (Mesa Verde National Park Archives, National Park Service)