Working with spectral data requires software that can read and process data other than the standard digital photo (i.e., three spectral channels – red, green, blue). There are a number of applications that is being used in the field for image processing, but most are expensive and not intuitive (e.g., ENVI). Below are two open source software applications that is being developed for the Cultural Heritage field for image processing of spectral data (both multi-and hyperspectral data).

Hoku Image Processing Software

Hoku is an image processing package for multispectral images.  This software is distributed free of charge and is intended for the recovery of erased or damaged writings on ancient manuscripts.  Hoku is a batch processing software package.  Jobs are defined and parameters are set interactively with a graphical user interface, but jobs are run in batch mode until they conclude.  There are no interactive image processing methods available.  You cannot touch-up or draw on an image with this software, but you can apply any of several image processing methods to enhance image details that otherwise are difficult to see.  The software is written in Java and requires having installed 64-bit Java, version 1.8.

Please send any comments, suggestions, descriptions of problems to Keith Knox at

RCHIVE Software

The Rochester Cultural Heritage Image processing and Visualization Environment (RCHIVE) is being developed for a grant supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). The goal of this software is to produce a free standalone application that has a low barrier-to-entry and supports the basic functionality needed for multi- and hyperspectral image analysis for Cultural Heritage objects.

As of spring 2023, the capture software is only useable on Windows. For processing, the Mac Software is only useable on iOs 11 and 12.

As stated, this app is still under development and any feedback and suggestions will be appreciated. Please contact Dave Messinger (use RCHIVE App in subject line).