In recent years many activities were conducted to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the First World War (WWI) outbreak.
Among these, the VAST (valorisation of history and landscape) project (http://vast.fbk.eu) was part of the initiatives promoted by the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy) as a tribute to WWI events in the region. The project was primarily aimed to document and promote, through 3D digitization approaches, ICT technologies and communication material, the memory of sites, theatre of the world conflict. The Trento’s area was under the Austro–Hungarian Empire until the end of WWI and on the border with the Italian Kingdom, so it represented a crucial and bloody war front. It was thus constellated of military fortresses, trenches and tunnels, most of them now ruined and at risk to slowly disappear.
In the article Valorisation of history and landscape for promoting the memory of WWI, by E. Nocerino, F. Menna, I. Toschi, D. Morabito, F. Remondino, P. Rodríguez-Gonzálvez, published on Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 29, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.culher.2017.07.007 the authors showcase how ICT solutions, 3D surveying and modelling procedures could facilitate and improve the dissemination of heritage information, enhancing valorization and attracting young generations to heritage places.
Reality-based 3D digital models of military structures were realized, based on historic evidences (drawings, maps and photos) and onsite measurements. Analogously, military objects found on the plateaus and now stored in the museums were digitized. All 3D models are now available on the web to allow access also with smart devices directly on site. Immersive virtual tours, communication material and WebGIS were also realized. The first, based on panoramic images, allow to travel and visit war scenarios (‘warscape’), understand connections among forts in a virtual and unique way. The WebGIS displays the main war events and localizations such as fortification and trenches, in order to enrich the geography of the territory with historic memory.
The project outcomes are of great importance to valorise heritage scenarios which are slowly disappearing due to time , remote location, lack of conservation and lack of interest in modern history.
The WWI places and items have been enriched and empowered with new meaning thanks to the exploitation of 3D digital technologies. The possibility to access 3D digital models almost everywhere, even on trekking paths, allows also non-experts, in particular young generations, to understand better and deeper the history and culture of the territory.