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Development of an interactive map

Influx of tourists to Sri Lanka in general, and Galle in particular substantially increased over the last few years. There were two contri...

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Evaluating Indigenous Knowledge of Civil Engineering and Spatial Planning Techniques Used in Galle Fort

The Galle Fort which is located in the Southern region of Sri Lanka is one of the few living forts in the world. It was initially built by Portuguese, later expanded by Dutch and subsequently rehabilitated by British.Many studies have being under gone with respect to architectural point of view. However attention for the work of engineering is very poor. In this research, the evolution of engineering and aesthetic aspects of the Galle Fort over three colonial eras was studied in detail.

Initially Portuguese started the fortification in the northern section of a rocky peninsula. They built three bastions named Sun, Moon and Star. Later Dutch had extended this fortification up to 14 bastions with connected ramparts around the peninsula. They have added a berm to the Northern ramparts to enhance the strength. Further, they have constructed weep holes and sloping top surface on the rampart walls to reduce the rainfall infiltration to the soil structure. These findings illustrate their engineering knowledge and expertise in fortifications.
Dutch have constructed a sewer and waste water disposal drainage system with a proper flushing mechanism. Pumped up sea water by a windmill, was used to flush the system. British have seen the inflexibility of this method and facilitate a storage facility close to windmill to store excess water. There is a wide spread belief, that Dutch had used tidal movements to flush the drainage system, which has been proven wrong during the study.
The Galle Fort road network was designed according to a grid pattern. The city was planned with public spaces and churches. Colonial rulers valued the beautiful landscapes around and have preserved them. The study identified many interesting landscapes which was emerged after the fortifications.

The data collected during the research were preserved in a relational database for future references. A three dimensional interactive map was developed to resembling Galle Fort. This map can be used as an alternative method to access stored data. The development process of this map itself bears a very significant alteration. The development process was done automatically using a machine code rather than doing it manually. During the research a new, easy to use, robust concept was introduced to develop 3D interactive maps. The Rubyclasses were used in conjunction with MySQL databases to develop 3D interactive map. This method grossly eliminates the cumbersome manual process of Development of three dimensional models.
Full report available on request.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Noise pollution in Galle Fort

Introduction: Galle Fort being a living fort is a noisy place. Some people think that its too noisy and steps should be taken to mitigate noise levels within the Fort.

 Faculty of engineering of University of Ruhuna carried out a research to achieve the following objectives

  • evaluate the impact of noise on tourism industry
  • prepare contour maps of noise levels during different times of the day
  • tourists perception on the noise levels
  • major sources of noise
  • possible measures that can be taken to mitigate noise levels.
  • what causes strange noises around mid night? Ghosts, as some people think  or some other natural phenomena

Six noise contour maps were prepared representing 2 hour intervals from 6 am to 6 pm. Sample map for the period 6 am to 8 am is given below. It is interesting to note that the area near the court complex is the noisiest in the morning when lot of people gather. Then it becomes a very quiet area when the court begin work at 10 am.

Noise levels during the period 6 am to 8 am
Major sources of noise are
  • construction sites
  • school and playground
  • religious places
  • noise reflecting from Galle town
  • motor vehicles, particularly three wheelers
Tourists are not concerned about nose level. Some said that noise makes it a lively Fort. However, some said that loud speakers of street vendors are annoying. 

Noise level at some locations are hazardous to health for those who expose for long periods

Contrary to common belief  particular type of brick used in road pavings, increases the noise level

Full report in pdf format can be made available upon request.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Development of an interactive map

Influx of tourists to Sri Lanka in general, and Galle in particular substantially increased over the last few years. There were two contributing factors to this sudden increase. One is the ending of 30 year civil war and the other is the construction of the southern expressway.

Until November 2011, when Sri Lankas fi rst Expressway opened, the only way to this historic fort was via crowded trains or an even more crowded two-lane road.Hence, the opening of the Southern Expressway, which links Galle to the capital city of Colombo, marks a turning point in southern tourism industry. Earlier both Galle and Kandy were two-day destinations for tourists. However, with the construction of the Southern Expressway Galle became a one day destination. The result was
doubling of tourist arrivals to Galle.

Most of the tourists arriving at Galle city have the desire to explore the roots of their ancestors. They seek the most accurate and reliable information whenever possible.Tour guides are one of the key front-line players in the tourism industry. Through their knowledge and interpretation of a destination's attractions and culture, and their communication and service skills, they have the ability to transform the tourists visit from a tour into an unforgettable experience.

The lack of the trained tour guides around Galle fort has created dissatisfaction among tourists who has spent large amounts of money to come to Sri Lanka. This situation creates a negative impact on the tourist industry of Sri Lanka. Tour guides are one of the key front-line players in the tourism industry. On the other hand most of the people who represent themselves as professional tour guides are self appointed tour guides. They tend to deal with inaccurate data and to have unethical practices. They have not received any formal training. Their knowledge about the history of the fort is minimal. As such they pass on incorrect information to the tourists. Apart from that most of the businesses pay these guides to promote their businesses.

The only source of accurate information on which the tourists can rely on is the library at Galle Fort. It contains a limited number of printed materials which are written in English. Even the library cannot cope with the demand for the materials comprising historical details about Galle fort by both local and foreign tourists. This vital problem has motivated for the study and for implementation of applications such as interactive digital maps where the tourists can get authentic, reliable and accurate information, which would ll the gap in demand and supply for trained tour guides.

A group of students from University of Ruhuna developed this map with financial assistance provided by the Galle Heritage Foundation.