Satellites and sensors to be used to save Pompeii

Friday 4 April 2014 | 09:28 CET | News

Italian aerospace and defence company Finmeccanica is to deploy technology including ground sensors and satellites in a bid to keep the ancient Roman city of Pompeii from crumbling. Finmeccanica announced that it had reached an agreement with the Italian culture ministry to donate its equipment free of charge as part of a EUR 1.7 million project entitled "Pompeii: Give it a Future". Finmeccanica will train staff to use high-tech monitoring tools that should give early warning of shifts in terrain in the 1,500 buildings of Pompeii, so that archaeologists can quickly intervene to prevent collapses. Soil movements, a major risk to the ruins especially during bad weather, will be monitored through high-resolution images captured by the COSMO-SkyMed group of satellites. Security guards will be supplied with special radio equipment as well as smartphone apps to improve communication that can pinpoint their position and the type of intervention required.

Finmeccanica said the project would last three years and that the results of satellite monitoring of a network of wireless sensors installed around the Roman ruins would be made available via the internet. Much of the technology is being provided by Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex ES, which also supplies electronic equipment and drones to the military. "We are offering our technology for the service of the country and its heritage," Finmeccanica's chief executive Alessandro Pansa told Italian news agency ANSA.

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