Cross Staff Heighting 1637
The delivery of appropriate documentation for heritage projects
is a matter of achieving the correct balance between the 3 key
processes of:




Measurement or information capture technique is where the
choice of technologies can determine the precision and nature
of the outcome.

Selection of significant information determines how efficiently
the capture method will match the information need. The
selection of information from a captured set can be active at
capture or made post capture from an undifferentiated data set.
The choice of measurement technique will determine both the
degree of information recovery possible and its dependency on
the response to significance either at capture or post capture.

Presentation or communication determines the utility of the
captured information set. A poor understanding of the
convention or visual language of draughtsmanship and
cartography can devalue spatial information to the point where
it can nullify the value of the documentation process.
Getting the balance right is the heart and soul of heritage
documentation or in the words of Digges:
Measurement technique alone
is not enough to describe what
we map. The processes of
abstraction and depiction
require skill and guidance to be
successful. This diagram,
taken from the cover of
Digges's manual of 1637,
shows a single measured line
on an elaborate facade: the
contrast between the science
of measurement and the art of
draughtsmanship is clear for all
to see, but how often do we
confuse method and product in
heritage documentation?
"The Geometer, how excellent so ever he may be, leaning only to discourse of
reason, with out practice (yea and that sundry ways made) shall fall into manifolde
errors, or inextricable Laberinthes."

Pantometria 1571
This plate from Gemma Frisius's
manual of 1584 leaves us in no
doubt the science of triangulation
offers a good solution to surveying
problems (thanks to his
development of a practical method
and robust instrument) but also
makes it very clear the richness of
the object surveyed demands the
draughtsman's attention!
is a continuous process enabling the
monitoring,maintenance and understanding
needed for conservation by the supply of
appropriate and timely information.

Documentation is both the product and action of
meeting the information needs of heritage
management. It makes available a range of
tangible and intangible resources, such as
metric,narrative, thematic and societal records of
cultural heritage.

Survey is a key aspect of heritage documentation
as recognised by the ICOMOS general assembly
at Sophia in 1996:

'Recording is the capture of information which
describes the physical configuration, condition and
use of monuments, groups of buildings and sites,
at points in time and it is an essential part of the
conservation process.'