Documentation and Cultural Heritage Inventories - Case of the Historic City of Ahmadabad
Keywords: Survey, Mapping, Heritage Inventories, Challenges, Data Processing, GIS Applications, Heritage management
Abstract. Located in the western Indian state of Gujarat, the historic city of Ahmadabad is renowned for the unparalleled richness of its monumental architecture, traditional house form, community based settlement patterns, city structure, crafts and mercantile culture. This paper describes the process followed for documentation and development of comprehensive Heritage Inventories for the historic city with an aim of illustrating the Outstanding Universal Values of its Architectural and Urban Heritage. The exercise undertaken between 2011 & 2014 as part of the preparation of world heritage nomination dossier included thorough archival research, field surveys, mapping and preparation of inventories using a combination of traditional data procurement and presentation tools as well as creation of advanced digital database using GIS. The major challenges encountered were: need to adapt documentation methodology and survey formats to field conditions, changing and ever widening scope of work, corresponding changes in time frame, management of large quantities of data generated during the process along with difficulties in correlating existing databases procured from the local authority in varying formats. While the end result satisfied the primary aim, the full potential of Heritage Inventory as a protection and management tool will only be realised after its acceptance as the statutory list and its integration within the larger urban development plan to guide conservation, development and management strategy for the city. The rather detailed description of evolution of documentation process and the complexities involved is presented to understand the relevance of methods used in Ahmadabad and guide similar future efforts in the field.