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Sensors and satellites deployed to save Pompeii

Ground sensors and satellites will be deployed in a new bid to keep the ancient Roman city of Pompeii from crumbling following a series of recent collapses at the sprawling and long-neglected site near Naples.

Sensors and satellites deployed to save Pompeii
A view of the preserved ruins of Pompeii [Credit: AP]
Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica on Thursday said it was  donating the technology to the culture ministry in a 1.7 million euro ($2.3  million) project entitled “Pompeii: Give it a Future”.

The main aims are to assess “risks of hydrogeological instability” at the  sprawling site, boost security and test the solidity of structures, as well as  set up an early warning system to flag up possible collapses.

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.

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.

Much of the technology is being provided by Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex  ES, which also supplies electronic warfare 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 reporters in  Rome.

Pompeii is the second most visited archaeological site in Italy after the  Colosseum and the Roman Forum in Rome, with around 2.5 million visitors every  year.

Conservation workers last year began a 105-million-euro makeover of the  UNESCO World Heritage landmark, funded by the European Union to the tune of  41.8 million euros.

The project is seen as crucial to the survival of Pompeii after a series of  collapses at the 44-hectare site in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius — the volcano  that destroyed the city in 79 AD.

Source: AFP [April 03, 2014]

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