Earth construction in the Weinviertel

Earth was of great importance as construction material over centuries but disappeared increasingly as a shaper of our cultural landscape.

earth construction, Weinviertel, culture

The project overview

Area of Science: Culture and Art
Location: Weinviertel, Lower Austria
Used Devices: with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: Smartphone, tablet (ideal), computer and digital camera (alternative option)
Activities of citizen scientists: sharing ideas, photographing, mapping, testing online, analysing
Suitable for: Youngsters and adults
Project duration: 01.07.2017 - 30.06.2018
Expenditure of time: Depends on the desired intensity of participation: The mapping procedure of one site (e.g. chance find) takes only a few minutes. More systematic mapping for a region lasts several hours (e.g. workshops, exkursions)

Project objective

In many regions, earth played an important role as construction material over centuries and therefore, was an important economic and societal driver. From a cultural perspective, specific earth construction techniques led to unique architecture and infrastructure, which influenced the landscape utilisation and subsequently the societal identity.

Today, many earth construction sites and earth pits are abandoned, but earth as a “new” material for ecological and regional building is becoming more and more popular. Identifying, classifying and analysing these old sites and structures promotes the understanding of a regional cultural and landscape emergence and can support the development of new technologies linked to traditional applications.

As gathering data on this topic needs local and historical knowledge the scientists apply a citizen science approach based on the tools and methods developed together with school students. Together with geologists, jurists, earth construction experts and the Museumsdorf Niedersulz, the legal and contextual framework will be developed to implement a citizen science project on earth monitoring and analysing. The participating schools support the project with their work in the main project and help to develop and test the earth application and the methodological framework.

How to participate?

To contribute data of specific earth construction sites, a mobile app on a smartphone or a computer with internet connection can be used. Citizen scientists can document the sites with images and can describe them using a short online survey.

What happens to the contributions of citizen scientists?

Citizen scientists contribute with their local and/or historical knowledge to identify and describe old earth construction sites. These contributions will be published as a WebGIS Service on a website and will be enhanced with further analysis and visualisations. This leads to an application that allows people to explore these sites virtually and animates them to visit and experience these cultural markers and landscapes. The web platform can also be used as an educational tool (e.g. for schools, excursions, workshops).

Participating and supporting institutions

Contact

DI Dr Thomas Schauppenlehner
thomas.schauppenlehner@boku.ac.at

Project website: http://lehmbau.boku.ac.at/

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