This paper presents the ARQUIGRAFIA project, an open, public and nonprofit, continuous growth web collaborative environment dedicated to Brazilian architectural photographic images.


The ARQUIGRAFIA project promotes the active and collaborative participation among its institutional users (GLAMs, NGOs, laboratories and research groups) and private users (students, professionals, professors, researchers), both can create an account and share their digitized iconographic collections in the same Web environment by uploading their files, indexing, georeferencing and assigning a Creative Commons license.


The development of users interactions by means of semantic differentials impressions recording on visible plastic-spatial aspects of the architectures in synthetic infographics, as well as by the retrieval of images through an advanced system search based on those impressions parameters. By gamification means, the system often invites users to review images’ in order to improve images’ data accuracy. The pilot project named Open Air Museum that allows users to add audio descriptions to images in situ. An interface for users’ digital curatorship will be soon available.

Research limitations

The ARQUIGRAFIA’s multidisciplinary team gathering professors-researchers, graduate and undergraduate students from the Architecture and Urbanism, Design, Information Science, Computer Science faculties of the University of São Paulo, demands continuous financial resources for grants, for contracting third party services, for the participation in scientific events in Brazil and abroad, and for equipment. Since 2016, significant budget cuts in the University of São Paulo own research funds and in Brazilian federal scientific agencies can compromise the continuity of this project.

Practical implications

The open source template called +GRAFIA that can freely help other areas of knowledge to build their own visual Web collaborative environments.


The collaborative nature of the ARQUIGRAFIA distinguishes it from institutional image databases on the internet, precisely because it involves a heterogeneous network of collaborators.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Computer Sciences, Information Technology, Project Management, Databases and Data Mining