It’s been a slow/busy year

Today was not the best day to detail my ‘day of archaeology.’ This week This year has not been the best for a day of archaeology. I am a GIS Specialist for a company that does Right of Way, Cultural Resource Management, and Environmental Resource Management consulting. Work for us is always feast or famine, but it has been especially famine lately for this 9-5 job. The flip side of the title though, is that outside of my 9-5 has been very busy.

As Day of Archaeology 2014 approached I was at a loss for what I might actually talk about for my 9-5. So I’ll throw together a little bit from the last week and we’ll all pretend that it happened in one day. It has happened in one day so it isn’t that big of a stretch. Part of my job is managing all of the GIS data. I set up the field equipment, I download that data when it comes back in, I design the technical figures that go into our reports, I work on cost estimates and work plans for proposals. I did a little of all of that this week. I worked on a proposal where our field crews would map in detail the architecture of several sites on a federal property and then provide to scale digital format maps. There is another proposal where we would take existing field maps from another federal property and provide scale digital format maps. I set up a Trimble for field use by an archaeologist and a biologist for surveying utility pole replacement. I design a suite of maps for a cellular tower installation. I like to argue that I’m slow this year because I have instituted so many automatic processes that reduce the overall time that I work on a single project. I love integrating data driven techniques. The downside is that I can now push out hundreds of maps in a few minutes instead of hours.

As I already said, outside of my 9-5 it has been very busy. I have been trying to pull in more on-call clients. I have designed and built a UAV. I try to keep up on my blog. Yesterday I submitted my poster abstract for SHA 2015 in Seattle. Come by and take a look at it. It should be pretty interesting. I worked with a colleague at the Fort Walla Walla Museum in…Walla Walla, Washington on a project that yielded some interesting archival research on the location of the city’s Chinatown. I am working on my GISP application (the RPA equivalent for us GIS folk).

It’s the daily grind that is typical for a lot of CRM professionals. But I get to drop interesting things in every now and then. This week was good for that.


Every Map Ever

I work as a GIS Specialist in Tucson, AZ for a company that does, among other things, cultural resource management. I started as an archaeologist, but I received my masters in GIS a couple years ago because I like using tech to increase efficiency and transitioning archaeology into an increasingly digital world. I like the challenge and I like that I get to be a part of every project on every level. From proposal, to field work, to report I get to see everything. I also get to manage the GIS server and make web applications. I research new technology and attend webinars to keep my skills up. I am the only GIS professional in the company so there are days where I’m very overwhelmed by the workload. Sometimes I get very little accomplished and sometimes I can make hundreds of maps in a day.

Today I worked on 4 archaeological projects. Three of these projects are in Northern New Mexico and have recently concluded their field sessions. The first one was in Santa Fe where some of our sub contractors monitored a busy intersection getting a utilities upgrade. I made 3 project location maps and 2 site plan view maps. The second project was on tribal land to the north east. It is also getting a utility upgrade but in this case it was walking survey. I made 3 project location maps for this one and 5 site plan maps. The third was across North Central New Mexico and I downloaded field data from our Trimble and post processes corrected the data. The correction wasn’t going well because the Trimble was not catching enough signal for correction. I’ll figure that out on Monday.

The last project I worked on is a resurrected data recovery project originating in 2003. This project has been brought to life several times in the last decade. Three weeks ago they approached me and said that they needed every figure from every year brought into the current software and edited. As I have gone through the data I started keeping a list of mapping specialists who worked on the project. I’m up to 7 not including me, so to say that it was frustrating bringing together all of those styles is an understatement. But we keep on and I was able to finish the plan views yesterday. I turned them over yesterday and started today on the profiles. Those should go better since there was not a lot depth for the features of these sites.

After that I worked for about an hour on my time card for the the week. This is a moderate week. Some weeks I have 20+ projects to enter. Beats unemployment by a long shot though.