On April 15, 2019, a fire broke out at France’s most iconic and historic building, the Notre Dame Cathedral. Though much of the artwork was saved, there was structural damage and the roof was destroyed. All was not lost, as the vaulted ceiling prevented further damage. Restoration efforts are currently underway, but could take up to 20 years to restore the site as close as possible to its original state. Unfortunately, similar to the Notre Dame Cathedral, hundreds of other iconic cultural sites around the world are unprepared to deal with disasters such as fires, floods, or earthquakes.
These buildings and sites could be preserved and restored more quickly, when modern technologies and innovations are applied to their preservation methods. In response to the fire at Notre Dame, Code and Response sprang to action by working in partnership with local organizations and AngelHack to see if today’s technologies could not only bring awareness to older institutions needing a plan to build back better, but bring some of the brightest minds together to help with the prevention and restoration process.
The Code for Notre Dame event was held on June 24 at Le Village by CA Paris, a location noted for housing many startups and as a hub bustling with innovation. It was the perfect location for the hackathon, where developers, designers, and entrepreneurs gathered to bring their ideas and solutions to this special hackathon in Paris.
The esteemed architect Jean-François Delhay (Chief Architect of the State – Head of the Office of Engineering and Technical Expertise at the French Ministry of Culture), was one of the judges on the panel, alongside judges Beatrice Dolle, Architect-DPLG; Vincent Perrin, IBM; Marie Schweitzer, Architect at Atelier Schweitzer; and Isabelle Tisserand, IBM. One of last year’s Call for Code finalists, Nassim Bettach,) provided remarks and served as a tech mentor to participants throughout the day.
The event started with an introduction and welcoming the participants to the event. Then there were presentations about Code and Response’s mission as well as some details about the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge. Jean-Pierre Courtiau, a former Head of the Office of Continuing Education for Architects at the Ministry of Culture was a guest speaker and presented to the participants about the Cathedral’s architecture and how their code should maintain the original structure. The rest of the morning was dedicated to team formations, discussions, and brainstorming. After teams were established, it was time for mentoring, training, and ideation. Then the teams presented their solutions to the judging panel, where the panel weighed the fundability, execution, UI/UX, and originality as part of their evaluation.
The standout teams
We were inspired by all the participants who came to Code for Notre Dame and their energetic spirit in using modern technologies to help a greater cause. There were many standout ideas. Read on to see how the top contenders applied innovative solutions to the Notre Dame challenge:
Team Fair@work presented an application that provides regular prevention and risk assessment in the workplace, inspired by the fire at the Cathedral. It uses an automated SaaS risk control and a web app workers’ security system. Their system not only makes it possible to evaluate more regularly internal risks to monuments and structures, but also variable risks outside the monuments (weather, events, further interventions).
Their premise is based on the following:
- Fair@Work retrieves company workers’ phone numbers, where workers then receive monthly or weekly questionnaires adapted to their activities.
- Employees answer anonymously on their phones, which is possible thanks to several already developed mobile technologies.
- SaaS Fair@Work then collects workers’ responses through the mobile app and converts them into consumbable data analytics.
Every week and/or month, risk key performance indicators (KPIs) allow monuments to automatically set up an updated Prevention Cultural Plan (PSBC) and provide targeted corrections to companies that are working in the monuments.
The tools developed:
- Ranking spaces Risk Mapping
- Targeted security alert mechanism
- Regular evaluation procedure through surveys
- Comprehensive data analytics follow-up of each company’s sectors
- Ranking of companies with assigned risks’ ratings
- Updated Prevention Cultural Plan with an updated prioritization
Team Fair@work implemented natural language understanding and The Weather Company APIs into their solution.
Team Gargouille came up with a solution that aims to help optimize the restoration of historic monuments.
Their application aids decisions in maintenance and restoration of monuments. Through photos, reports made by the architects and employees, and sensors in the building, workers can rely on and cross-reference all that data with machine learning. They can determine areas, paintings, walls, objects, sculptures that need to be checked and/or maintained to its original state.
The benefits of using machine learning in this manner are saving money on low maintenance areas and focusing on critical areas in case of destruction.
Team Gargouille implemented these technologies into their solution: Node.js, machine learning, and Watson Visual Recognition.
Team Patrimonium presented their IoT platform to sense and analyze building data. Their application does the following:
- Retrofits existing data
- Collects data with new sensors (seismic, RFID, crackling, drones)
- Evaluates and prevents risks
- Helps make important decisions
- Provides action guidance (VR & AR headset)
- Provides automated reporting
And the winner is...
Again, we want to thank all the speakers, judges, mentors, and especially our participants. Developers can help make a huge difference and impact with their code and innovative thinking. After much deliberation, the judges chose Team Fair@work as the winner! Congratulations! We hope that all the teams at Code for Notre Dame will continue their work and submit their final solutions to the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge.
Who knew that cloud technologies and a centuries-old monument could go so well together? If you want to learn more about restoring buildings, you need to check out our starter kit, Building Back Better to Reduce the Impact of Future Disasters.
To learn more about the technologies used by the three teams mentioned here, check out the following resources: