GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS
ArAGATS mobile GIS data collection system
For our pedestrian fieldwork, we employed a tablet-based mobile GIS system using ESRI’s Collector for ArcGIS app installed in Apple iPads. As the costs of conducting archaeological fieldwork continue to rise, resulting in shorter, more intensive research seasons, archaeologists are coming to leverage new technologies that increase the efficiency and accuracy of data collection in the field. Paperless, or born-digital, recording strategies have received much attention in the recent literature, with many noting that mobile devices can offer significant enhancements to the quality and efficiency of data collection by: limiting the potential for human error in transferring data from paper forms into a digital format, allowing the tracking of data entry accuracy in real time and the correction of potential problems while in the field, and providing the capability to record transect lines as they are actually walked in order to evaluate our sample coverage in a given survey area.
On the Kasakh Valley survey, each member of our team is equipped with an iPad loaded with the Collector app to record spatial and site attribute information. Recorded data then uploads in real time to the project geo-database stored on servers at Purdue University using a cellular data connection and automatically refreshes on each tablet in a matter of seconds. With the ability to quickly record sites and their detailed, individual features directly into the project geo-database--such as wall trace lines, individual burials situated in dense clusters, or concentrations of surface materials--we can quickly generate precise statistical comparisons of funerary architectural styles, densities, geographic foci, and associations, as well as observe changes in burial practices and their concomitant social landscapes over time.
Our mobile GIS workflow will be described in more detail in a manuscript currenly in progress. Check back for more information soon...