Sunday, October 02, 2005

To Smart Village again, now for a tour and a lecture

The tour is at CULTNAT., the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage. On first view it is a funny combination of culture and nature. But once you see their products you will understand that they can turn images of hieroglyphics into birds will all the information on their territory. The Center is in fact a content factory, which processes everything that has to do with cultural heritage and natural heritage; of course the natural heritage by itself is a lot of content.

The first stop on the tour is the room for astronomical instruments. Equipment is on exhibit which has to do with the positions of the stars such as a astrolabe an clocks. They even have a globe with China, but after that there is the black sea up to Europe. The USA had not been discovered yet.

The water clock of a kalief. The clock ran on water 24 hours. At every hour it would release a ball, which fell in a big cup; but only in daytime as the kalief did not want to be disturbed at night. The kalief had also a clock running on sand.

Next stop in the tour is the collection of CD-ROMs CULTNAT has produced. Over the years CULTNAT has experimented and developed a layered approach to their information. All productions have three layers: identifier (e.g. statue), basic data, expanded data. The productions range from Archeological heritage, natural heritage, manuscript heritage, musical heritage and contemporary heritage with architecture in Cairo.

The starting screen of Culturama

A remarkable product is their Culturama, a set of 9 screens used in an interactive way. I have seen this type of screens for movie projections. Cybercity in Hong Kong has such a presentation; but it is used for sequential movie showing; not for interactive presentations. You would wish that you could go back to school and learn history in this way. It is so entertaining and exciting. On those nine screens they show the Pharaonic timeline, e.g. with Tutanchamon with imagines restored in 3D.

But their latest pride and joy is the Eternal Egypt ( The site won acclaim from the WSA Grand Jury this year. Eternal Egypt is content for broadband. The site showcases a selection of Egypt’s treasures and cultural heritage, from the dawn of the Pharaos to the Islamic era. It is an interesting innovative and interactive ma and time line. A context navigator shows relationship between a subject and other objects, places and personalities. It is a beautiful site which is interesting for teaching history of Egypt.

After the tour we are brought to another office where I will present a lecture on the World Summit Award and how it works. It takes some time, but a discussion ensues. By 13.30h I m bundled into the car to be rushed to the city to the RISTEC institute , right opposite the Dutch embassy. Still some sponsor meetings to go and at 19.00h a final presentation at the Intercontinental hotel on the subject Internet is changing fast. I hope it will be a good discussion with the media.

At night I will fly back to Amsterdam and arrive just in time to start the new working week.

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