Posts Tagged ‘GIS’

The Canary in the Data Mine

Posted on Sep 16, 2014

By Rebekah Miracle (AERA GIS specialist)

As the geographic information specialist (GIS) at AERA, my job is to digitally archive, synthesize and present our excavation data in ways that make it more understandable and usable to other people – both to our own researchers and, through articles and illustrations, to other people who may have never seen our sites before. Working with the Mit Rahina site data from Memphis is a bit different than working with our Giza data. While I know the Giza sites backwards and forwards, I’ve never seen the Mit Rahina site in person.

In some ways this makes my job harder, as I have to orient myself solely through our excavation archive. In other ways though, this helps me to do my job better, as I can’t take anything for granted and I know that if something doesn’t make sense to me, it probably won’t make sense to outside researchers either. I feel like I am the canary in the coal mine for data clarity this year!

Though I am working from my home in Austin, Texas, we have twice-weekly team meetings and constantly send documents back and forth. Despite the 7100 miles between my home and the site, it actually works very smoothly.… READ MORE »

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Connecting Our Data Through Digitization

Posted on Apr 2, 2012

Posted by Rebekah Miracle

Even though I’ve been back home from Giza for over a week now, my work with the AERA geographic information system (GIS) isn’t over– it has just shifted into a new phase.

During the excavation season, my priority was the daily digitization of new features as they came out of the ground. Over 900 new archaeological features were digitized this season, which kept me very busy! I worked closely with the excavators and our archivist to make sure that all of this season’s data was properly recorded and to provide team members with a quick, accurate, and integrated visualization of the KKT & HeG sites.

Now that the season is over, all of the new data has to be carefully checked, linked to the database of feature descriptions, and finally integrated into our existing dataset. After the data is finalized and integrated, it can be used for analysis and to make maps throughout the year – for the excavators’ reports, for publications and presentations, and to combine with the specialists’ datasets to help them place their finds in context and aid in their understanding of the site. The GIS is where all of our data ultimately comes together – archival, survey, excavation, special projects, and specialist data – and it forms an important part of the digital archive of our work on the site.… READ MORE »


Archaeological GIS at Giza

Posted on Sep 16, 2006

By Farrah L. Brown, B.A., M.Sc., GIS Specialist
and Brian V. Hunt

The size of AERA’s excavation at Giza’s ancient Egyptian settlement and the enormous quantity of data that it has produced could easily overwhelm. That’s why we’re employing an exciting tool—a Geographic Information System (GIS)—to aid our search to understand the processes and infrastructure that supported pyramid building at Giza.

A major goal for AERA specialists over the next few years is to publish the results of our analysis of more than fifteen years of excavation at Giza. We will offer the methodological and data-analysis of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP) in a number of forms: in monographs, in journal articles, and on this web site. GIS will help accomplish this goal.

What is GIS?

GIS is a combination of computer hardware and software designed to store, retrieve and analyze data for which location is an important characteristic. The location information allows us to graphically map the data and view relationships to other data. Typically, we use GIS to:

  • Input and store data
  • Retrieve data
  • Manipulate, map, and analyze data
  • Create new data and reports

GIS differs from the computer-aided design (CAD) and mapping tools developed during the mid-1980s.… READ MORE »