[OSGeo-Discuss] Tools and approaches for the cartography of archaeological excavation sites

Chris Puttick chris.puttick at thehumanjourney.net
Fri Nov 5 03:21:16 PDT 2010

You might be better on the Open Source Archaeology list :)


Speaking as a non-archaeologist working in archaeology, precision of millimetre is nonsense, achieved or not, as (a) the things they are recording were not built to that precision, nor in many built-structure cases even designed and (b) stuff in the ground for that long has moved...

CAD doesn't make sense, even though commonly used, as CAD (as any engineer will tell you) is a design tool, not a recording tool. GIS makes much more sense for the majority of recording as the data will require much analysis to be really useful, and a map can be later produced via Inkscape. We have a member of staff who's developed a nice survey workflow using QGIS and Inkscape.


Chris (CIO, Oxford Archaeology :) )

----- Original Message -----
> Hello,
> I have been asked to analyze how FLOSS software could help to support
> an archaeological program that would take place in remote mountainous
> corners of Central Asia.
> I pretty much see which sensors and software to use for the small
> scale part, where standard GPS precision is enough.
> But the most important part is a large scale work, where they need a
> much higher precision in order to position their findings and draw
> very precise maps of the excavation sites.
> When they work in Europe they have sensors and are in a context which
> give them a precision of the millimeter.
> For this project they know that they won't have access to the same
> tooling and they could live with a precision of the centimeter.
> My questions to the list therefore are:
> - is it relevant to use "our" usual FOSS4G software (GRASS, QGIS,
> etc.) for such tasks? or do only CAD tools make sense?
> - do some of you have experience with sensors/methodologies which
> would provide centimeter order precision, be transportable and usable
> in remote areas and not too expensive?
> - more generally, if somebody has experience with similar
> problematics, I'd be very interested in pointers to documentation,
> software, sensors...
> I hope that I am not (too much) out of topic: I must say that it is
> not yet completely clear to me at how large a scale do GIS stop...
> Thanks in advance for your comments,
> Mathieu
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