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Subject: Computers for conservation applications

Computers for conservation applications

From: Mitchell Bishop <mbishop>
Date: Thursday, July 11, 1996
For some time I have been looking for a portable computer that can
be used for a variety of field activities by conservators.

Ideally such a computer would have some of the traits of field
computers used in the "vertical" market by people such as surveyors,
meter readers and others employed in walking or standing
occupations. Many small computers like this are currently on the
market but their storage space is usually 500 megabytes or less and
they usually only have modest amounts of RAM.

This is a serious impediment for doing activities like condition
reporting or conducting surveys that would involve running programs
such as Adobe Photoshop or programs like AutoCad.  Monitor
resolution is usually not terribly good either and is more often
than not monochrome.

Recent technical advances seem to make it possible to create a
computer that is pen enabled, (i.e. you can actually draw or
annotate on the screen with an  electronic pen) and can run some of
the beefier imaging and CAD programs. Ideally such a computer would
also have a drive for reading CD's.

If or when such a computer exists it could be an invaluable tool for
conducting surveys of buildings, wall paintings, archaeological
sites, and for travelling shows and museum collections. It seems to
me that a considerable market might also exist.

Currently conservators use standard portable computers which they
adapt as much as possible to their needs. A number or companies make
fairly rugged portables for field use but they usually are
considerably inferior to the standard portables now available.

If anyone has any information regarding this subject they would care
to share with me or place on the Cons DistList I would be very
interested to hear from them. I would also be very interested to
hear about useful adaptations to portable computers or imaging
annotation software that people might be using to indicate condition
on digital images either acquired from digital cameras or scanned
from other sources.

Mitchell Hearns Bishop
Research Coordinator,
Documentation Program
The Getty Conservation Institute
310-822-2299 ext 234

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:9
                   Distributed: Friday, July 12, 1996
                        Message Id: cdl-10-9-009
Received on Thursday, 11 July, 1996

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