Archaeology + spatial geekery = archaeogeomancy

Survey at Stonehenge

Survey at Stonehenge

A few words of intro before the full and glorious meat of archaeological computery geekery that will ensue through the day. My name is Paul Cripps and I am the Geomatics Manager at Wessex Archaeology. The title of this post comes from my blog, Archaeogeomancy, where I usually talk about things I’m doing, researching or otherwise interested in, focussing on archaeological geomatics. Bit of a play on words there (as described here) based around the term geomatics. Many people ask me what is geomatics and I generally quote verbatim the rather good wikipedia entry:

Geomatics (also known as geospatial technology or geomatic engineering) is the discipline of gathering, storing, processing, and delivering geographic information, or spatially referenced information.

Archaeology as a discipline makes extensive use of 2D & 3D spatial information using a range of tools. Archaeological geomatics is therefore becoming central to the work of many archaeologists be they working in academia, local government, government agencies or contracting/consulting units, companies and charities.

Anyway, as you will have gathered, I am an archaeological computing specialist. I used to dig holes but nowadays you’re more likely to find my using a computer than a trowel. In my day job, I am responsible for GIS and survey at Wessex Archaeology so my posts today will be largely based on my work there.

Profile of a round barrow based on LiDAR data produced using GIS

Profile of a round barrow based on LiDAR data produced using GIS

I am planning to finish building a new GIS-based marine geophysics interepration system I’ve been developing and will also be undertaking preparatory work on some rather large LiDAR datasets ready for some visibility analysis. I’ll also be looking at our internal survey protocols as we’re about to launch a new version of our archaeological survey processing software which will make the flow from data capture (using our Leica GNSS/TS) to GIS analysis, reporting & cartography even more seamless: Full credit to Niall Donald (Systems Developer), Ruth Panes (Survey Officer) for their input on this one. And finally, I am in the process of submitting a paper for publication based on some of my my broader research interests (spatial technologies, landscape archaeology, ontologies) so will give an update on that also.

So, a variety of spatial technological geekery forthcoming. Hope you like it.

6 thoughts on “Archaeology + spatial geekery = archaeogeomancy

  1. David Hunter says:

    Great post, Paul.
    Oh, and nice Sokkia SET5A. ‘Tis a fine work-horse. 🙂

  2. Paul says:

    Thanks 🙂

    I must admit, that’s not one of mine… At Wessex Archaeology we use Leica Viva instruments which are really rather nice. This old work horse belongs to Bournemouth University, the picture was taken when I went up to visit their recent excavations at Stonehenge.

  3. David Hunter says:

    Ah, ok.
    I still prefer the Procon GRS-1 (rtk gps), but the T.S. is always useful.

    Does your blog ‘Archeogeomancy’ have an RSS feed? I can’t find the link anywhere…

  4. Paul says:

    Sorry, yes, just stick rss on the end of the url or use this:

    And do you mean Topcon GRS1…? If so, it’s not a bad piece of kit. Certainly light and portable. We have invested quite a bit over the years in Leica gear though so our training etc is geared up towards Smartworx. Also means the TS and GNSS use the same controllers interchangeably, so really flexible when out on site with multiple instruments.

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