Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PreserVenice app

The WPI Venice Project Center and the UNESCO Venice Office announced the release of our PreserVenice web site and smartphone/tablet app.
I am very proud of the efficiency and elegance of the end result, which allows us to showcase the extraordinary wealth of information we have collected about Venice's public art.
Most of the credit goes to Ben Lichtner and Kyle Miller, who were responsible for the technical and content aspects, respectively. This project would have not come to fruition without the support of the UNESCO Venice Office.  Big thanks go to Yolanda Valle-Neff, director, and especially to Anthony Krause, head of the UNESCO Culture Unit, who had the vision to support this worthy initiative.
The innovation we have introduced with this project is mostly invisible, and it is based on City Knowledge technology, which endows each piece of public art with the intelligent agency to request donations and/or data updates autonomously.
The PreserVenice website showcases all of the 1,098 coats of arms, 943 patere (roundels), 394 reliefs, 173 sculptures, 109 street altars, 109 fountains, 75 crosses, 56 flagstaff pedestals,  32 decorations, 30 inscriptions, and 25 sculptural fragments - a total of 3,044 pieces of Venetian urban outdoor sculpture. Information and details for each piece can be viewed on individual wiki pages on Venipedia ( and in more succinct forms directly on the PreserVenice app and website by selecting an artifact on a map of Venice.
The companion PreserVenice app ( is accessible on all platforms (smartphones, tablets, lap/desk-tops) via a compatible web browser, and it is designed to elicit participation through crowdsourcing and crowdfunding techniques. Interested users are solicited to contribute to the upkeep of each collection piece by flagging erroneous data, providing updated information, taking new photos, and also by donating money towards the restoration and repair of their favourite artifacts. This crowdfunding technique collects restoration funds from many small contributors, each making micro-donations in real time from the mobile app, all while standing face-to-face with a piece of public art in the streets of Venice.
The Venice Project Center has collected information for an additional 5,000 artifacts, which await funding to be consolidated and included in the PreserVenice website and app. PreserVenice aims to publish all of its public art data and to establish itself as a non-profit organization, that will collaborate with UNESCO’s Venice Office to actively preserve and restore these outdoor testimonials to Venice’s past. PreserVenice is planning a crowdfunding campaign to support the next phase of the project.

Based on the PreserVenice model, we plan to publish ALL of our Venice Project Center data this year, as the Venice Project Center turns 25...
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