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An Open Source Heritage Inventory and Management System

United States
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Arches is a new open-source geospatial software system for cultural heritage inventory and management, developed jointly by the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund. Arches grew out of the collaborative effort to create MEGA, the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities, and the widespread need within the heritage field for inventories that are easy to use and access. Unlike MEGA, Arches is a generic system, and can be used without geographic restrictions. Arches has been purpose-built for the international cultural heritage field, and can be used to inventory and document buildings and other structures, cultural landscapes, heritage ensembles or districts, as well as archaeological sites. As open-source software, Arches is freely available to use and customize, without licensing or upgrade costs, and it is capable of being configured and extended to meet the needs of particular users. Arches incorporates international standards for heritage, information management, and software, leading to better practices in the creation and management of heritage data and facilitating data exchange and longevity in spite of advances in technology.

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Development of Arches began in June 2011, building on the experience of developing and implementing MEGA. Input was sought from heritage professionals from around the world, helping to shape the requirements for the software. (...)

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The need for functional heritage inventories has grown over the past few decades, together with the rise of a global awareness of the importance of heritage management. Nevertheless, inventories remain complicated to establish and maintain, and frequently rely on costly proprietary software that is often a mismatch for the needs of the heritage field. (...)

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World Monuments FundPress Conference Announcing the Latest Version of Arches
May, 2015

World Monuments Fund and the Getty Conservation Institute began a project just over a decade ago to address the mounting threats to cultural heritage. As that work emphasized, heritage inventories provide the basis for all heritage place management, both on a daily basis and in times of crisis. This video showcases diverse applications of Arches, an innovative open source software system that incorporates international standards and is built to inventory and help manage all types of immovable cultural heritage. Speakers include: Bonnie Burnham, President, World Monuments Fund, and Timothy Whalen, Director, Getty Conservation Institute; Janet Hansen, Deputy Manager, City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources, and Scott Branting, Director for Mapping and Data Integration, American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives for Syria and Iraq, both early adopters of Arches; and Dennis Wuthrich, CEO and Founder, Farallon Geographics. For further information about Arches, visit

World Monuments FundMiddle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities
October, 2012

A web-based geographic information system (GIS) known as Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA), has been developed by World Monuments Fund and the Getty Conservation Institute to record and monitor condition data at heritage sites in Jordan.