The project is based on state-of-the-art data acquisition and presentation technology which are used to generate geographic information systems (GIS), 3D computer models and other spatial data. The data is captured during often complex and difficult field campaigns of the project team. The team has completed documentation work in Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and South Africa. Further documentation work is planned for other African sites. The heritage collection is conceptualised as an integrated and interactive model, in which contextual data are closely linked to spatial data. It is the vision of the documentation project that the Zamani Project will not only be used as an information source but that the spatial data and representation of the sites will form the basis for additional site documentation and contribute to site management.
The Zamani Project was initiated in the Geomatics Division of the University of Cape Town and is now funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project, founded as "The African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes Project", developed out of years of heritage documentation activities by the project's Principal Investigator, Heinz Rüther. The Zamani group, comprising four Scientific Officers, four to eight temporary assistants and interns and the Principal Investigator, is the umbrella which manages and executes the documentation project.
The spatial data acquired by the Zamani group is made available to subscribed institutions worldwide and augmented by contextual non-spatial data by ALUKA.
The intellectual property policy with respect to the data on this adheres to the same rules and principles as the Aluka policy. It is especially important that the data may only be used for education and research and, by special permission, for restoration and conservation projects, but it may not be used for commercial purposes.
In addition to traditional intellectual property laws such as copyright law, Aluka recognises that existing and emerging laws pertaining to national cultural heritage can apply to materials such as traditional songs, poetry, or art. In many cases, where these laws exist, they are of recent vintage and precedents are thus limited as to how they would apply to a project such as Aluka. In such cases, Aluka endeavours to seek guidance from the appropriate local authorities as to how to comply with these laws. Tour Lalibela