The first Annual Meeting of the 4CH project was held on Thursday the 8th July with over 70 people attending the Zoom meeting which was chaired by Francesco Taccetti, INFN. After a short welcome, the first speaker was the European Commission Project Officer, Fulgencio Sanmartin who emphasised that the results of 4CH were very important to the Commission as future projects would depend on these, mentioning that Anne Bajart had explained the new priorities at the recent After the Damages talk. Francesco Taccetti then set the context of the meeting with a status report and next steps, providing a brief overview of the project activities by each Work Package (WP) before moving onto the individual presentations, the main points from each are summarised as follows.

The Advisory Board and National Coordination Centres (Roberto Di Giulio)

The Advisory Board consists of CH experts and scientists starting with around 12 people and now has 30 members. As all countries should be represented at the institutional level, on the Advisory Board so this has to be extended further (at the 1st level). The 2nd and 3rd (more local) levels will come later.

The Advisory Board and National Coordination Centres structure

The Advisory Board members had provided feedback during the After the Damages talk, creating a first list of topics for the Policy Document (a list of principles and issues) which will define the collaboration with the 4CH project and the final version of the Advisory Board.

The National Coordination Centres will provide the services linked to the Competence Centres (CC) in each participating Member State, harmonising policies and actions to each of their own national contexts. WP4 will launch some NCC pilots towards the end of phase 2 and once a roadmap is defined for these, initiatives in other countries will be evaluated. The next steps are to develop a programme for the implementation of the pilot projects and to identify countries for feasibility analyses.

Next, Franco Niccolucci, PIN, provided a summary of the work to be covered in the next six months which is expanded upon in the individual WP and task presentations. Claudio Prandoni, PIN, followed with a presentation regarding project management procedures and internal reporting before the meeting moved on to the WPs and Tasks.

T2.1 – Analysis of existing European CCs: structure, organization, procedures, services deployed and policy (Serena Orlandi, UNIBO).
This task started with an analysis of existing CCs (and similar) through desk research, interviews and a survey by questionnaire with a report, Deliverable 2.1, due at the end of M7. Information gathered from 8 EU CCs and 7 EU Knowledge Centres as well as some other similar entities has been entered into Fact sheets which looks at aspects such as the legal structure, the government and management structure, strategy, business model and plan, value proposition, portfolio of services and other relevant information. The design of the survey started with the Matrix list based upon an initial list of relevant organisations listed in the project proposal. Guidelines for the criteria selection were created, along with the factsheet template, the questionnaire and also the personal data consent form.

Rossella Reversi, UNIBO, then followed with the draft Survey results. A total of 51 entities had been selected which were divided into three categories: 1) EC Competence Centres, 2) EC Knowledge Centres and 3) Other national and international facilities and clusters. This was followed by a number of slides showing the data analysis in Microsoft PowerBi which is a powerful presentation tool which allows the end user to select datasets and adjusts the resulting visual outputs accordingly. The finalised results will be reported in D2.1 due at the end of this month (M7).

Next, Donato Orlandi, INFN, introduced the results of WP1, staring with an overview of the four requirements and field of activities each addressed by the tasks as follows:

Task 1.1 – Analysis of experiences, skills and best practices acquired and implemented so far in the European countries, in the field of preservation and conservation of monuments and sites. (Leila Signorelli, UNIBO) The mapping strategy to be used for the analysis applied three concepts: Conservation, Preservation and Exploitation. For example, Guidelines from ICOMOS and other international bodies had been collected in Zotero and cataloguing of Best Practices was under way.

Task 1.2 – Implementation of a map of all kind of risks which can damage Cultural heritage assets for prioritising preservation and conservation activities. (Sorin Hermon, CYI)

The structure and classifications used for the map of risks can be divided into two categories, Natural and Human. The former covers natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and fires as well as longer term processes, mainly caused by climate change such as drought and wind. Humans are responsible for both single incidents such as looting and vandalism as well as long term activities related to urban expansion, agriculture and the impact of tourism, for example. For each of these, effects and mitigations can be identified using desk research, questionnaires etc. Some first results were presented with many sub-categories being identified and several aspects such as how to integrate all of these, linking causes with effects for an artefact the subject of open discussion.

Task 1.3 – State of the Art, including update via Market Watch, of the technology in the fields in which the Competence Centre will operate: digitisation and 3D modelling, conservation and preservation and exploitation of CH Assets. (Lisa Castelli, INFN)

The workplan had split the work into three sub-tasks:

  • Digitization and 3D modelling
  • Conservation and preservation
  • Exploitation of CH assets.

The preliminary results started with searching in CORDIS for EU projects related to the first two sub-tasks. A tool was designed for this purpose and over 100 projects were identified for digitisation and 3D modelling with 125 for conservation and preservation. These are currently being examined, with all the results being recorded in Zotero which will be the basis of the Market Watch. A controlled vocabulary is being used for the descriptions and the next steps will be to harmonise the descriptions from all the WP1 tasks, include links between the different topics and to extend the coverage of the desk research. Ginevra Niccolucci, PRISMA, then gave a quick demonstration of the data browser tool which used Caspio to create a database of projects and has a form for partners to propose new projects or amendments to existing ones in the database.

Task 1.4 – User needs: mapping existing analysis on user needs and defining their continuous update. (Igone Revilla, Technalia)

The analysis of user needs is based upon EU projects, scientific publications, International/ European documents and reports. The methodology started with searching the CORDIS and Scopus databases, then screening the resulting projects and papers according to their relevance. Of the 154 projects analysed, 36 are relevant and 22 have documentation on user needs. Also, 268 papers have been identified for analysis. The most relevant projects are being categorised according to a method based on the  Value Proposition Canvas which consists of two sides: the Customer Profile, where it is possible to clarify the customer understanding, and the Value Map, where it is possible to describe how the company (i.e. CC) intends to create value for the identified customer (end user). Many different types of end users are considered, from CH institutions and professionals and SMEs to the creative industries and tourism. The next steps will include fine-tuning the EU project analysis and adapting the Scopus analysis, applying the methodology to the Scopus papers, identifying any gaps from the combined analysis and producing a draft table of contents in September for first report, D1.2, due in May 2022.

WP7 Dissemination (Elisa Sciotti, Cinzia Luddi (PIN), Sheena Bassett (PIN), Ginevra Niccolucci (PRISMA) and Valentina Vassallo (CYI).

The meeting continued with a presentation given by Elisa Sciotti (ICCU) leader of WP7 Communication, dissemination & cross fertilization, and by the leaders of the four tasks who gave an overview of the activities carried out in the first 6 months of the project within each task. These covered monitoring of the partner dissemination activities, the website and Twitter, the newsletter and plans for a series of webinars. At the end of the presentation Elisa showed the initial version of the general video of 4CH project. 

Data Management Plan (DMP) (Paola Ronzino, PIN)

The first version of the DMP, D8.1, has been submitted and contains an initial description of the datasets collected and generated by M6 of the project as well as an initial plan on how data collected and generated will be shared, archived and preserved throughout the project and after its end. The DMP is a living document and will be updated as 4CH progresses. It uses the Commission’s template for H2020 projects and contains sections based upon each of the four FAIR data management principles. As well as the many types of datasets resulting from activities mentioned in the previous presentations (e.g. desk research, surveys, workshops etc.), 4CH will also be creating 3D models for the implementation of the pilots to test the workflows and project outcomes and the estimated volume of data generated by 4CH is around 1TB. In order to collect this data as it is generated, a shared table has been provided for WP  Leaders to record the data type, format and size of the data.

Paola then explained how 4CH will comply with the FAIR principles for data management:

  • Findable – there is the Project website, the EC Participant Portal for deliverables and Zenodo. For the 3D datasets, a repository will be provided.
  • Accessible – using a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence and Zenodo. T2.1 data which contains personal information will have controlled access within the project.
  • Interoperability – using PDF and MS file formats and Zenodo which requires metadata that can be exported as Dublin Core and DataCite.
  • Reuse – by using repositories, 4CH will increase data reuse (likewise Zenodo). Data security is managed by the Project Management Team according to legislation and EU regulations (which also apply to personal data). No ethical or legal issues that may impact data sharing are foreseen.

Ethical Aspects (Lorenzo Giuntini, INFN)
This went into greater details about the data management procedures outlined by Paola Ronzino.

WP3 – Implementation of the 4CH Platform (Marco Medici, INCEPTION)

The kick-off meeting was held on the 24th June so Tasks 3.1 and 3.3 only started a couple of weeks ago. Project Objective 2 (see below) is directly related to WP3 as this specifies the 4CH platform and external services. Part of the work will be to create a CH cloud based upon the existing structure at INFN – the WP1 work will inform the design which includes providing access to the Knowledge Base and selected tools.

4CH Project Objectives

WP3 will use the Technology Overview Table from the proposal as a basis for building the platform. Integration of the INCEPTION 3D and HBIM technologies does not start until M13 and the Knowledge Base will start in M19, which is also the when work on access and use of Big Data services, e.g. meteorological alerts about floods, fires and earthquakes, and the most effective tools for story telling will also start. At present, the preliminary results from WP1 are expected shortly and a WP3-WP4 Working Group has been set up to address aspects such as user needs based on frequent situations, technological solutions already available, etc. By the end of M7, preliminary results will be shared with all partners involved in WP3 and a meeting organised for autumn, face to face if possible.

WP4 Workplan for the Service Deployment System (Achille Felicetti, PIN)

This consist of four tasks, the first two of which did not start until the 1st July  (M7) when the kick-off meeting with 20 participants was held with the other two (T4.1 and T4.3) due in M9. WP4 is strongly dependent on WP1 and WP2 and is closely integrated with WP3 and is the foundation for achieving Objectives 3,4 and 5 (see above diagram). Furthermore, the tasks are also inter-dependent.

Task 4.1 – Procedures and protocols to access to CC services and consultancy. This involves identifying a protocol based on the profiles of the identified users, technology transfer and training, supporting data reuse, policy-making etc. and managing the recruitment of members for the National  CH Competence Community and involving intermediaries such as trade unions, foundations and associations linked to CH. A Working Group will start work in September on analysing the first results on user needs and target groups (T1.4), looking at the portfolio of services provided by the CC’s and their networks and partnerships (T2.1, D2.1 “Report on CC”), linking with T2.2 on the network structure and selecting relevant case studies and also best practices for the recruitment and/or engagement of members/stakeholders.

Task 4.2 – Standard and guidelines to CH digitization. This task will define the 4CH 3D digitization process for data capture, data processing and data storage / access. It will also define the certification systems for both instruments and procedures. A working group will assess the state of the art for existing protocols, standards, guidelines and procedures for data capturing, virtual reconstruction, processing and storage, matching these to the user needs identified by T1.4. As well as making a preliminary assessment of the certification, T4.2 will also assess standards and semantics for scientific data, protocols and procedures and storytelling. All the outputs will go into the Knowledge Base.

Task 4.3 – Training Services on the field of activities identified. This task will begin in September (M9) on the definition and planning of the 4CH training system which will cover all identified end users. Training may be provided remotely or in person. Videos and webinars are the preferred option with short on-site courses, internships and/or classes provided by the CCs. All  training materials will be freely available from the project website. Project partners have already suggested contributions to the Training Services which include a webinar series, A MSc course, standards and guidelines as well as the creation of courses for virtual reconstruction and story-telling.

Task 4.4 – Implementation of workflows and simulation through pilot cases. Task 4 4 starts next year (M16) and will start with surveying and selecting relevant case studies based on different states of conservation, the methods used and exploitation purposes. Three candidates have already been identified. The next stage is to test the work flows, defining which parts relate to CC components and the associated bodies. The pilots will serve as demonstrators of success stories and be used to validate the CC structure.


Francesco Taccetti commented that there was a lot of work with a lot of connections to be done, requiring weeks of meetings. Roberto Di Giulio agreed and Franco Niccolucci said that it had been an excellent meeting, a good start with more work done than expected and more work to do than anticipated.