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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Cultural Heritage Imaging

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities, Management & Technical Assistance, Technology

Mission: Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) drives development and adoption of practical digital imaging and preservation solutions for people passionate about saving humanity's treasures today, before they are lost.

Results: Use of computational photography technique for cultural heritage applications has seen a dramatic increase due to our programs over the last 10+ years. As a result, better, more precise information has been and is continuing to be collected in support of monitoring, preservation, research and education. For example, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) is a low cost method for examining fine surface details of subjects. Because of our work to take the tools from research and create user friendly tools, create a user community that can help each other, and to provide training, consulting, workshops and other services, this technique is now in broad use for art conservation, rock art and inscriptions, and many other uses in historical and artistic contexts. Our work to provide information, training and consulting on how to scientifically apply 3D photogrammetry and archive the results is changing the way cultural institutions use 3D for research, education, monitoring and historic documentation

Target demographics: all people who care about cultural, historic, and artistic treasures

Direct beneficiaries per year: People all over the world who downloaded free software and user guides and participated in free user forums. In addition we directly trained ~100 people in imaging techniques.

Geographic areas served: internationally to produce scientific digital imaging tools and methodology

Programs: CHI offers open source software and training classes in advanced, scientific, yet easy-to-learn imaging techniques that are low cost and use off the shelf digital cameras

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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1 Joan T. N.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I recently took a workshop in photogrammetry through CHI. It was something totally new me, to use in my Conservation photography.The instructors had much enthusiasm and knowledge in their field ,each with their own expertise to share with us ! We all got to work in groups to photograph art objects and then produce 3D images in the computer - Photoscan program with CHI's help ,a printed booklet and talks that were given.
J. Neubecker

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've attended the course on Photogrammetry for scientific imaging by CHI last September. I was very impressed by their professional and scientific approach to imaging, with a strong focus on attaining repeatable and true to life photogrammetry data, as opposed to generating mere pretty models of the artefacts.
The level of competence demonstrated by the staff throughout the four days was amazing. The lectures, hands-on sessions, and the manual all complemented each other to allow the trainees to quickly develop the basic skills needed and to carry on improving on a self-taught basis.
I have been working in Cultural Heritage for many years and the kind of training provided by CHI covers (and exceeds) all the basic criteria I would expect from a course of this kind. Highly recommended.

2 Kevin G.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I recently had the opportunity to attend a CHI training course on photogrammetry. I learned more in the four days with them than I had trying to learn the process by myself over the last two years. I fully support their mission to bring novel technological/preservation skills to heritage professionals and the public through their outreach and education. They are focused, passionate, engaging folks who are making a marked impact on the capabilities of those who are able to attend their workshops. I feel I cannot overstate that last sentiment enough: CHI is doing their part to help usher in the future of cultural heritage preservation and public engagement for our shared, irreplaceable cultural resources. While many in the class I attended came from a museum or a curations background, I was there to find new ways to apply photogrammetry to archaeological research. The instructors often took time to address my specific questions about field applications and throughout the workshop would think of ways I could utilize the methods being taught in the types of environment I am likely to encounter.

I highly recommend the CHI team and their work. I look forward to learning more with them in the future.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CHI provides an invaluable course in photogrammetry for anyone involved in Cultural Heritage. I would recommend their course to any photographer as an absolute must if your institution is looking to get into photogrammetry. The hands on training, the peer learning, and the materials you will have once completing the course should be in everyones desk.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CHI's training courses exceed expectations. They value the importance of hands on experience which is critical for retention of these complex imaging modalities. They teach methods that promote scientific integrity which is imperative when adopting to a proper cultural heritage institution workflow. I learned much more than expected and have no doubt in my ability to successfully integrate these processes into my own professional workflow.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

CHI offers in depth yet accessible training in computational imaging. Their staff clearly holds true passion towards advancing the field and teaching others. I highly recommend taking one of their training courses to anyone associated with the cultural heritage field.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CHI is an amazing organization that functions in the truest sense of a non-profit. Their focus is on sharing their knowledge, educating the cultural heritage community, and developing open source tools to help that community thrive!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) has made an enormous knowledge contribution to the museum community. Scientifically accurate 3-D imaging is rapidly becoming a core methodology serving conservators, scholars, preservationists, and casual learners. The current rapid expansion of 3-D photogrammetry for documentation of cultural heritage collections is largely due to the trainings conducted by CHI, both at their own facility and remotely at institutions worldwide. In addition to formal training the CHI team freely share their sophisticated refinement of the photogrammetry process through participation in conferences, workshops and museum community listserves. In my opinion those responsible for imaging of many of the world's most significant cultural heritage collections would not be capturing quality 3D image data without the research, dedication, and spirit of openness that CHI provides.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

CHI has for years and years engaged with both the cultural heritage professionals they serve and the academic communities that invent the new technologies they use. Their training programs are often backed by grants that they received jointly with universities. Why does this matter? They are constantly challenged by expert researchers on the technical side as well as the arts and humanities side. In my work with them I have found them to be extremely competent at what they do.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One of the best and most dedicated non-profits in the cultural heritage field I have ever encountered. They go above and beyond with every project they tackle and their philosophy about sharing their knowledge and data with the public is amazing. Truly a heart-warming experience working with them-could not recommend them more!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our department has collaborated with CHI on Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) for the past six years. Carla, Mark, and Marlin are leaders in the field and have been instrumental in making RTI and related technologies accessible within the cultural heritage sphere. Their training sessions impart practical knowledge and their countless lectures at conferences around the world propel the intellectual discussion forward. Additionally, the resources they have made freely available through their website have helped us to maintain best practices long after our training had concluded. Their work truly enriches the field.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Cultural Heritage Imaging are leaders in their field. Or to be more precise, CHI are the only ones in their field, and they're bringing all of us forward with them.
CHI are helping museums, archaeologists, and cultural heritage organizations move forward with digitizing and sharing cultural heritage objects from around the world. They're offering trainings in both Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and photogrammetry, and they're teaching the capture technologies to photographers and non-photographers alike.
I've taken both the photogrammetry and the RTI trainings from CHI, and both have exceeded my expectations. Now I can share my knowledge with my museum and with colleagues at other museums, and we have more ways to document and share the objects in our collections.

5 Kevin160

Client Served

Rating: 5

CHI has been, and continues to be a great source of Technical instruction, know-how and support for evolving and far reaching imaging. Other reviews have said it well; take a look at the institutions and experts they have worked with. That is a testament to their work. What I can add is how the team at Chi put their passion into keeping these imaging technologies moving forward in an open source environment is a significant asset to the Cultural Heritage Imaging Community worldwide.

6 Yosi P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the great privilege of collaborating, learning and building a professional relationship with the Cultural Heritage Imaging group (CHI) for close to ten years. Their founders Carla, Mark and Marlin are as committed as ever to the development and dissemination of imaging techniques that empower cultural heritage documentarians and caretakers all over the word, with low cost equipment and techniques. As the Senior Conservation Photographer at the largest encyclopedic collection on the West Cost, under LACMA's Conservation Center, I can attest to the importance of CHI's work. Abiding by a strict scientific approach and a philosophy of open-source sharing, CHI is always looking forward. They have come a long way with the development and dissemination of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and now, Photogrammetry, but they never lose sight of the future. Their teachings are grounded in very strong fundamentals that allow for the generation of documentation (data-sets) with longevity. These best practices allow institutions, collections and archives, to rework currently acquired information to a higher degree of processing as soon as the technology and algorithms become available. Proof of the important work that CHI performs are the numerous grants that they have been awarded throughout the years, institutions of great weight like the IMLS and NEH have contributed to their efforts with consistency attesting to the influence that they have in the Cultural Heritage field. I know that supporting CHI in anyway is supporting the development of accurate and reliable techniques and procedures to document cultural heritage artifacts and sites anywhere. Lately with the current political climate in many regions of the world this resonates with great importance and a sense of urgency to safeguard, at least in a digital format, cultural landmarks that are under constant threat. We need organizations like CHI to succeed if we want to preserve our human collective memory and history.
Sincerely
Yosi Pozeilov

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work with CHI as a technical writer, which gives me a chance to see how the technology has been developing and expanding. It is fascinating to see how it can be applied in such widely disparate fields.
I also love getting to work directly with this great team. They really know their stuff, and know how to get it across to people. It is satisfying to see our work getting into the hands of the people that need it and appreciate it.

5 Tom_108

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have taken two courses with CHI, focused on Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and 3D photogrammetric modeling, and have come away from both workshops with the deep technical understanding necessary to implement both techniques with confidence.

In professional fields where most practitioners of these techniques are self-taught (as I was), CHI is performing an invaluable service. By "deep-diving" into the computational processes that RTI and 3D modeling rely on, a true understanding of how to produce quality and precise results in any environment is developed. It is this true understanding that will enable the students of CHI's workshops to excel in the field, and to continue demonstrating ideal practices to their peers.

Beyond their ability to teach a fantastic workshop, the CHI team promotes an environment of knowledge sharing and enthusiasm, evident in their commitment to open-source software development. Each team member is endlessly enthusiastic to answer questions and discuss potential applications of these tools. I'm looking forward to crossing paths with this fantastic non-profit in the future.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

Cultural Heritage Imaging has a deep passion for documenting and preserving art, history, and culture. They do this through training programs, free support forums, the development of open source software and user guides. A core principle of the organization is to teach people to fish enabling many people to adopt photography based scientific imaging in their day to day work. The organization is small, and they collaborate with a wide variety of research labs, universities, museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an emerging art conservator, I am no stranger to the value of digital tools for the documentation and analysis of cultural heritage. However, my ability to use the technologies available in an efficient way relies heavily on the work of the Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI) team. CHI makes computational photographic techniques accessible to non-specialists.

The CHI team consists of three total gurus. Carla Schroer brings business and tech know-how from years of work in Silicon Valley earlier in her career. She has a warm and direct teaching style that is accessible no matter your photography/imaging background. Mark Mudge is a true visionary; he is rigorous and inventive, and always carefully pushing the brink of what’s possible. Marlin Lum is the photographer of the group and a master at fabricating the perfect tool/workstation for the capture of near-perfect source images. His never-ending positivity is contagious.

If you have an opportunity to take a training course at CHI, you will not regret it. Not only is there immense value to the techniques they are teaching, but it’s obvious that they love sharing knowledge and truly believe in the power of the tools they are teaching.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Cultural Heritage Imaging is committed to the field of heritage preservation through their avid work in exploring the latest technologies available for documentation. I have been fortunate enough to attend two of their workshops now - one on RTI, and another on 3D Photogrammetry - and each week-long course taught me a customized quality skill set that I would not have been able to get anywhere else. I admire their dedication to the work that they do and am grateful to all the funding that has enabled them to share (and keep sharing) their work so broadly.