Information Technology Overview
Arches is a web application that allows organizations to view, create, edit, and query data to improve the preservation and conservation of immovable cultural heritage. Using open, international standards, Arches allows users to create data inventories that describe the type (or types), spatial location and extent, cultural period (or periods), and material (or materials) of heritage assets.
Arches includes the following components:
PostGIS, an open source database capable of managing geospatial data and implementing GIS processing tasks
ElasticSearch, a flexible and powerful open source, distributed, real-time search and analytics engine
Arches employs established open source software and open data standards. The system is also designed to access and process geospatial data based on the standards and specifications published by the Open Geospatial Consortium. These include specifications for data encoding, system integration interfaces such as WMS (Web Map Service), WFS (Web Feature Service), and WCS (Web Coverage Service), data visualization encodings such as KML (Keyhole Markup Language), as well as emerging standards, including Tilecaching standards, geoJSON, and REST interfaces. Compliance with OGC standards will ensure that Arches is compatible with other desktop GIS applications, like ESRI ArcGIS, Google Earth, and Quantum GIS, common web browsers, and online satellite imagery and map services (e.g., OpenStreetMap, Google, Microsoft). Arches will implement Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) providing modern and standards-based methods for integrating multiple information management systems.
Arches also implements the CIDOC CRM ontology to promote data interoperability between information management systems. Controlled vocabularies are managed using thesauri and authority files to ensure that users of Arches employ the same concepts when interacting with cultural heritage data, even though they may use different terminology.
Arches is open source software distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License, version 3. The Arches repository is accessible on GitHub, and the Arches Roadmap outlines future development plans and releases.