Global Positioning System

Supporting students in the field

I have a strange job, and one that doesn’t exist at too many other universities. My official title is ‘Project and Fieldwork Officer’ and, along with my partner in crime Anthony in the role of Computing Officer, you could say we act as a sort of half-way-house between the students and the lecturers in the Department of Archaeology at York.

We spend a lot of our time teaching the undergraduate and postgraduate students techniques like survey, geophysics, and computing skills such as GIS, but invariably this doesn’t stop in class. As soon as a student decides to use a fieldwork technique, piece of kit, or computer in their dissertation, this means a lot of one-to-one support and coaching from us. This puts us in a nice position, as we really get to know the students well, in a more relaxed environment. It also means we are rewarded handsomely with wine and chocolate at the end of the year.

With the undergraduates away for the summer it’s quiet in the department, but there’s still plenty to do. The postgrads are still here, desperately trying to finish their dissertations and in need of GIS and other general computer help, but today I had other responsibilities.


It’s all fun and games until you break my GPS

The day in the life of a GIS manager.

As a GIS manager at a small environmental and archaeological firm in Arizona I don’t get out much to enjoy the archaeology any more (Dirt? Never touch the stuff).

Since I wake up 8 hours behind the rest of the world, my Friday is about to consist of getting a quote on a GPS repair (most likely not worth the fix since it’s a Juno and pretty worthless in the first place… 2-5 m accuracy? Boo hiss), working on proposals for local scanning projects , answering phoned in questions on the total station from the crew in the field excavating (told you I don’t get out), cleaning up data on the server (my nemesis), digitizing rocks and mortar, and pulling maps out of thin air. All by 5 or beer thirty, whichever comes first… hopefully the latter?

So I should probably stop blogging and get to work!