You may have heard of the Peel Island Lazaret CyArk webpage which is now available to the public. (For more information, I refer you to my previous blogs of 14.05.2016 – Digitising the Lazaret at Peel Island; 15.10.2016 – Click; and 07.03.2017 – Peel Island episode now available to view on BBC’s ‘Click’ )
However it requires the latest and fastest computers or it may take too long to load. My computer overheated but I did manage to view the attached photo which is described as ‘Church interior, 1950s. Originally built by Melanesian patients, this was the main church on the island. Photo by Dr Morgan Gabriel.’
However, I think it is more likely the church interior was at Fantome Island and not Peel. Comparing the external and interior images, it is obvious that their dimensions do not coincide.
Doctor Gabriel did visit both Peel and Fantome Islands as part of his medical duties, and as such did take both photos. However much later the church interior may have been mistaken by others for Peel and not Fantome.
Last year, I accompanied a group of young tech enthusiasts from CSIRO, UQ, and QUT to Peel Island to film a documentary for the BBC. It was all part of the CyArk project with the aim of digitising the Lazaret (see my earlier blogs: ‘Click’ of October 15, 2016 and ‘Digitising the Lazaret at Peel Island’ of May 14, 2016). It was all under the guidance of Nick Kwek, the show’s producer and director who came from London to do the filming. He realised that the story’s human side is really fascinating as well, so I was included in the team to supply a bit of the human history to the now empty huts that the drones and robots were to film.
Now it’s available for all to view on the BBC’s official YourTube account:
I recently accompanied a group of young tech enthusiasts from CSIRO, UQ, and QUT to Peel Island to film a documentary for the BBC. It was all part of the CyArk project with the aim of digitising the Lazaret (see my earlier blog Digitising the Lazaret at Peel Island of May 14, 2016). It was all under the guidance of Nick Kwek, the show’s producer and director who came from London to do the filming. He realised that the story’s human side is really fascinating as well, so I was included in the team to supply a bit of the human history to the now empty huts that the drones and robots were to film.
Nick was indeed bowled over by the place and spent many hours filming the buildings as well as the robots and drones. He also conducted several interviews, of which I scored about ten minutes.
Although I did feel a bit out of place amongst all the geeky tech talk, (but I did understand the terms drone and wi-fi) it was a very stimulating experience for an old codger like me to be amid the intelligence and enthusiasm of these fine young University people.
Like the production of all documentaries, most ends up on the cutting room floor, and it was with some dismay that I learned that the entire segment, for the BBC series called Click, would only run for five minutes. I doubt that I’ll get much of an airing in the final product. As an historian, I often lament the discarding of so much history on the cutting room floor, which must be even worse now that we have changed from film to videotape and digital, but the media have little regard for anything outside their current projects. Nick did however say that a full documentary should be made of the place. I hope he talks to someone at the BBC about this idea!
Since 2012, students from the Architecture Faculty at the University of Queensland (UQ) have been involved in digitising the former lazaret at Peel Island for the CyArk project. One of the pieces of equipment they have been using is the robot shown below. This proved invaluable in scanning the interior of the former doctor’s house at the institution, whose floors have been rendered unsafe for humans to tread due to whiteant infestation.
To explain how CyArk works, it is best to go to its website at cyark.org which explains to us initiated folk:
CyArk uses cutting edge technology to capture detailed 3D representations of world’s significant cultural heritage sites before they are lost to natural disasters, destroyed by human aggression or ravaged by the passage of time.
By bouncing laser light off the surfaces, 3D scanners measure millions of points a second, accurate to a few millimeters to create a 3D data set, or point cloud. Colours represent the intensity of reflection from the surface.
Individual data points are joined together via small triangles, connecting each of the dots and forming a wireframe. These triangles are used to form a solid surface from the points, which creates a solid 3D model.
The 3D model generated from the point cloud is then coloured using photographs taken of the surface of the structure. The result is a photo-real 3D model which can be used to further study the monument and used for conservation and education.
This week I attended a demonstration of the Peel Island project at UQ, along with other members of the Friends of Peel Island Association (http://www.fopia.org.au) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The work already done by the UQ students is impressive and it is hoped to have the project uploaded on the CyArk site in the not too distant future. When this happens you’ll be able to digitally explore the lazaret as it was back in 1955!
My only misgiving was the length of the project’s digital life on the web, given the rate at which the web’s technology is outdated. CyArk claims that it will keep up with all changes so that the project will last forever. Now ‘Forever’ is a rather a bold statement when it comes to the internet. I’ll be interested to see whether this claim holds true!