Smart Cities

Many sections of the wall are in remote or hard-to-reach areas, and some have fallen into disrepair.

The news: Intel and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation have teamed up to deploy drones to scan and capture 3-D images of the structure. A detailed model of the nearly 700-year-old Jiankou portion of the wall, in the mountains north of Beijing, will be created and used to identify sections that are most in need of restoration.

Why drones? The Jiankou stretch of the wall is in notoriously steep, densely vegetated terrain, making regular maintenance and inspection difficult for humans. The data from Intel’s drone fleet will help prioritize and augment manual inspection and repair.

Why it matters: The partnership shows how new technology can complement more traditional work. A job of the future we recently speculated about, the so-called “national identity conservationist,” may not be as far off as we thought.