Category Archives: Geographic Information Systems

From MPhil to PhD; GSTAR update

After a longer than anticipated gestation, my Transfer Report has left my hands and is working its way through the administrative system to be externally examined. Fingers crossed, this is one of my last posts as an MPhil student and I will soon (post viva) be a PhD student proper.

Time for some celebratory fireworks!

Time for some celebratory fireworks!

The Transfer Report included a condensed form of the literature review and also a detailed report on Pilot Study. This Pilot Study was designed to lay sound foundations for the PhD research and involved implementing a system using geosemantic technologies, primarily to investigate ways in which semantic and geospatial data can work together but also to help me get to grips with the subject area and technologies available.

The full report will be made available in due course, once it has been examined (viva scheduled for end of November) and any corrections completed, but for now here is an update on some of the key findings of the Pilot Study and conclusions drawn.
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Day of Archaeology

Day of Archaeology

Day of Archaeology

Last Friday was the Day of Archaeology and judging by the number and quality of posts, this year’s event looked to be one of if not the most successful yet. Massive congratulations and thanks to the organising team who do all the hard work, so much of it in their own time! Continue reading

Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project wins award

Inside the stone circle

Inside the stone circle

Chris Blandford Associates (CBA) have won an award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for their work on the Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project (SEIP). Continue reading

TACOS: 21st Century Geospatial #HistEnv Data Management

TACOS – the event

On 14 May 2014 the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) hosted a one day seminar on behalf of FISH and HEIRNET at the University of York to discuss common issues facing the historic environment information sector and make progress towards a shared vision and agenda for historic environment information management.

The TACOS keynotes, discussions and demonstrations will build upon a ‘show and tell’ event (the NACHOS seminar) held at the British Museum in November 2012, which identified the need for integration of information sources in support of the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP). The seminar will investigate current historic environment information management practices and identify areas for improvement through cross-sector collaboration.

Aims

5 Taco plate by ulterior epicure

Tacos

The key aims of the seminar were to:

  • Encourage discussion between different groups that produce and manage historic environment information from across the sector (professional, research and voluntary to identify common goals and issues
  • Develop information sharing networks and working partnerships across the sector to pool resources in the areas of skills development and application of information technology

There’s more info on the event (aims, topics, etc) here. Continue reading

When Prehistoric Farming Begins: Kingsmead Quarry, Horton

Archaeological excavations in a quarry

Archaeological excavations in a quarry

Whilst working for Wessex Archaeology, I was privileged to play a minor part in a project which, over the course of numerous seasons of excavation, has proven to be rather exciting. Under the careful management of Gareth Chaffey and Alistair Barclay supported by a broad team of field archaeologists and other specialists, the site at Kingsmead Quarry, Horton (Berks) has given plenty of evidence for life over the last 12,000 years since the last ice age, particularly for Neolithic through to Bronze Age activities. Continue reading

Linking Geospatial Data 2014

LGD14 Barcamp, featuring open plan space and beanbags.

LGD14 Barcamp, featuring open plan space and beanbags.

I was very pleased to attend this event co-organised by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) through the SmartOpenData project, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the UK Government (data.gov.uk), the Ordnance Survey (OS) and Google. Hosted by Google Campus London, the two day event comprised presentations, lightening talks and a barcamp, all focussing on the use of geospatial data within the world of Linked Data. It was refreshing to be amongst researchers, users, developers and commercial folk all working in this area; I for one picked up some good ideas to help with my research project and hopefully my contributions were of use.

It was certainly good to bring together the camps working in this area: the geospatial technologists on the one side and the web folks on the other (And people like me who have one foot in each camp, as well as limbs in other domains, my primary domain being digital cultural heritage of course). To make this stuff work it’s going to take both groups working together through their respective consortia, the W3C and OGC.

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Digital Past 2014

Laser scanning

Laser scanning a historic building

The call for papers is now out for the Digital Past 2014 conference, now in its sixth year. Time really has flown since I was privileged to speak at the first conference back in 2009 and the conference has grown in strength year on year. The main themes this time are Technical Survey and Deliverables, two excellent subject areas. Continue reading

GIS training opportunity: Lancaster Summer School in Interdisciplinary Digital Methods

Spatial Humanities at Lancaster

Spatial Humanities at Lancaster

Following on from their previous successful events (see here and here), the good folks in the Spatial Humanities team at Lancaster University are organising a GIS course as part of a broader summer school in digital methods. Continue reading

Geosemantics; the story so far

Semantic Web Rubik's Cube by dullhunk

Semantic Web Rubik’s Cube by dullhunk

Into the second month of the PhD now and things are starting to coalesce and take shape. A framework for development, testing and deployment of proposed demonstrators is emerging and I’m making good headway demystifying the world of geosemantics (at least, it’s becoming clearer in my head!).

So, as well as continuing with the literature review, I’m knitting together a whole bunch of tools:

  • Java Development Kit (JDK) – the programming language at the heart of it all
  • Maven – a project management and comprehension tool
  • Eclipse – open development platform
  • Jena – a Java framework for building Semantic Web applications
  • Oracle 11g – relational Database Management System (RDBMS) with Spatial and Semantic components
  • D2RQ – a system for accessing relational databases as virtual, read-only RDF graphs.
  • AllegroGraph – a graph database
  • Prolog – logic programming
  • Protégé – ontology editor and knowledge-base framework
  • GeoSPARQL – query language for geospatial data stored as RDF
  • ArcGIS – Geographic Information System for data preparation, processing, etc
  • GeoServer – open source GIS server written in Java that allows users to share and edit geospatial data.

I’ll be posting more along the journey. Next steps will be to complete the literature review, submit stage reports and use some real archaeological data. Exciting stuff!

Archaeological survey at Sandsfoot Castle; recording one of Henry VIII’s castles

GIM 09/2012 cover featuring Archaeological Survey at Sandsfoot Castle

GIM International, September 2012 cover featuring Archaeological Survey at Sandsfoot Castle

The latest issue of GIM International contains a feature article on one of the projects I managed for Wessex Archaeology. The article talks about some of the tools, techniques and technologies used on this and other archaeological survey projects these days.

Archaeologists nowadays have a broad range of geomatics tools and techniques available to help them in their work. Whilst measuring tapes and dumpy levels are still essential instruments found on archaeological sites across the world, many projects now include Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), robotic Total Station Theodolites (TST) and a variety of photographic and photogrammetric methods. Spatial data is then handled in 2D and 3D using CAD and GIS. These modern tools allow archaeologists to record our heritage with greater precision and faster than ever before whilst producing rich spatial data for visualisation and analysis.

For more information on the project, see the Wessex Archaeology case study.

For more information on the castle itself, see the website of the Friends of Sandsfoot Castle and the Rodwell Trail.