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Copyright 2006 - UNESCO

Space for Heritage


Using Remote Sensing to Provide an Effective Management Tool for Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is probably the most important urban creation of the Inca Empire.
Built at its height, the property stands in a beautiful setting 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of Peru’s tropical mountain forest. Its giant walls, terraces and ramps have the appearance of having been cut naturally into the solid rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

The success of Machu Picchu has made it a very popular destination and has brought a large number of visitors to the site. This popularity has complicated the monitoring and management of the property. The valley that provides access to Machu Picchu from the city of Cusco is also an area subject to eventual landslides.
A joint project with the Government of Peru using space technologies and in particular remote sensing is underway to address these issues and provide the local conservation authorities with an effective management tool to better conserve the site in both its cultural and natural heritage values.
Experts from Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan as well as the European and Canadian space agencies are supporting this effort, which includes mapping, assessment of land use and land use change, production of 3D models and contribution to a better understanding of the eventual landslides.
This is done in close collaboration with other initiatives that UNESCO is undertaking under the leadership of the International Consortium of Landslides.
Road to the Machu Picchu, Peru
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