39th Annual Meeting – Joint Paintings/Research and Technical Studies Session, June 3, “Speed, Precision, And A Lighter Load: Metigo MAP 3.0, A Great Advancement In Condition Mapping For Large-Scale Projects” by Emily MacDonald-Korth

Emily MacDonald presented on the usefulness of a new condition mapping program called Metigo MAP 3.0.  She began her presentation with a description of a collaborative project between  the University of Delaware and the Tsinghua University (Beijing) led by Dr. Susan Buck (Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation) and Dr. Liu Chang (Tsinghua University) to examine and document Buddhist murals and polychromy in the Fengguo Temple (Fengguosi), located in Yixian County, Liaoning Province, China.  The four interior walls of the temple are lined with the murals.  The murals were in very poor condition and their contained images were skewed by loss and other damage.

The Metigo Map software allowed the conservation team to map the murals’ condition issues in a short period of time.  The software incorporates mapping, digital imaging, and area measurement tools. The program streamlines the mapping process and is easy to use.  Emily compared the software to known and used techniques of documentation and illustrated the limitations of each.

Metigo Map was created by German company fokus GmbH Leipzig, dedicated to architectural surveying in addition to documentation of large scale conservation projects.

Maps are produced by uploading images into the software.  The images can then be drawn on and annotated.  The program makes the image true to scale and is able to rectify skewed images to proper orientation.  This allows images to be used that were taken from an angle if your subject is not accessible from the front.  By inputting the dimensions of the painting, the software can give exact locations of areas of interest and calculate the surface area of damage.  This feature can also be useful in making time estimates for proposals on big projects.  Image processing setting allows for photo editing to aid mapping.   Mapped images can then be exported as tif. files and opened in other programs.

For the presentation, Emily chose three murals to be representative of the condition issues they noted overall.  The conservators worked as a team, using Metigo Map to document the condition of the murals.  After the murals are mapped, the maps can be compared easily for condition issues.  The software can also be used to map the locations of samples.  Annotations can be made to the maps for future referral.

For large scale projects or projects particularly difficult to photograph, users can use the tiling function of the software to piece together the rectified image.  This allows for seeing the project unobstructed.

Emily also illustrated how Metigo map can be used to document experiments.  She has also used the software while working on a graffitti removal research project at the Getty to document surface changes and areas of treated surfaces.

Emily summed up the talk with an excellent slide comparing the pros and cons of the software.  The pros included:  easy mapping, image processing, rectification, measurement functions, compatibility with other software, and easy interface.  Cons included:  requires initial training, no white balance (but this can be done on photoshop beforehand), and cost (more expensive than adobe creative but less expensive than autocad).

39th Annual Meeting – Joint Paintings/Research and Technical Studies Session, June 3, “Raman Revealed: A Shared Internet Resource for the Cultural Heritage Community” by Suzanne Quillen Lomax

Suzanne Lomax presented on IRUG’s (Infrared and Raman Users Group) latest efforts to distribute data for Raman spectra.  She began the talk with a brief discussion on the history and mission of IRUG and their new initiative to create a Raman spectra database due in large part to a $239,650 two-year IMLS grant awarded to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in partnership with IRUG.    The 118 institutional members will contribute to the database which will be used by individuals, scientists, conservators, and students to study cultural heritage.  The Raman database will be maintained on their website.  IRUG has biennial conferences and their website www.irug.org contains information on grant funding and the conferences.  All of the coauthors for this paper are board members of IRUG.

Suzanne described the model for the database and compared it to the widely used infrared database.  By 2009, the IR database was 100% digitalized, available on CD, and in two print volumes.  The latest edition contains over 2,000 infrared spectra. On the current IRUG website, members are able to search terms and match by keyword resulting in a hit list for searched components.  The resulting spectra provide in their file name link the mode of collection and where it was collected.  The largest represented group in the IR database is organic dyes and pigments followed by mineral pigments.  Raman spectra are currently being collected and added to the database.

Suzanne also stressed the growing use of IR and Raman data use in the field and how this is being reflected in papers at IRUG conferences specifically related to art and archaeology.  She provided examples in which mineral pigments as well as synthetic organic pigments have been identified though used of the database and how Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) can be used to overcome the problems of fluorescence by using nanoparticles to magnify the signal.

Objectives of the IRUG database will include a website interface with the ability to upload data by users, software, a translator to transform native data into IRUG standard, a searchable library, an interface for keyword searches, data download, and spectra printing.

Suzanne is chair of the newly formed Raman review committee, which reviews spectra and format.  The format to be used by IRUG is JCAMP-DX (ASCII) files for universal access.  This will also allow batching of spectra for submission.  To learn more about the format refer to the IRUG website.

The first batch of spectra has been pledged but the invitation is open to new contributors.  Interested people should contact Suzanne or Beth Price, the project manager from the PMA.  Currently users cannot upload data but can do searches on the website.

A comment after the talk reminded the audience that it is a free database though users need to contribute 10 spectra to get access to the searchable version.