Category Archives: News

The new Magna Carta exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral

The frieze in the Chapter House at Salisbury Cathedral

The frieze in the Chapter House at Salisbury Cathedral

Archaeovision recently completed a rather lovely piece of work which now forms part of the new Magna Carta exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral. This involved the photographic recording of a section of the frieze in the Chapter House which was then used to generate a 3D model which was in turn printed in 3D to provide a scale replica which visitors can get up close to. The model now sits in the exhibition accompanied by information boards explaining the frieze in more detail. James Miles undertook the photographic survey and produced the 3D model. Continue reading

GSTAR @ Computer Applications in Archaeology (CAA) 2015

Conference

Conference

Following on from my presentation at CAA2014 in Paris, I was invited to submit a paper to a session at CAA2015 covering Linked Data (LD) and focussing on the difference between being theoretically interoperable and interoperating in practice. Continue reading

GSTAR @ ASAHRG; engaging domain experts and formulating archaeological research questions

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

The main focus of the GSTAR project is to investigate the use of geosemantic technologies for archaeological research purposes. To this end, a geosemantic resource has been created from a range of sources and the next step is to express real world archaeological research questions in the form of queries which can be actioned on this resource. Whilst I have my own ideas regarding interesting research questions for my study area, in order to engage with the broader research community and draw on their extensive experience and knowledge, I will be taking GSTAR on the road tomorrow, giving an overview of the project to the Avebury and Stonehenge Archaeological and Historical Research Group so as to be able to pick their brains about potential areas of archaeological research which may be interesting and fruitful to explore. Continue reading

Academic Referencing and citations made even easier

d-221 books by az

d-221 books by az

I’ve been using Mendeley now for a long time and as one of their advisors, I am a keen advocate of the platform. It makes my life so much easier through managing my references, my pdf collection, it’s ability to gather references from online resources, mobile app support (I use Scholarley until an official app emerges) and the very neat plugin for MS Word to add and format citations.

RefMe - The free web and mobile tool to generate citations, reference lists and bibliographies

RefMe – The free web and mobile tool to generate citations, reference lists and bibliographies

But when it comes to hard copy, there is no other solution than to manually create an entry in Mendeley. Till now. I’ve signed up with RefMe which has a handy mobile app which can scan bar codes on published works and generate references automatically. Even better, it can then output these references to Mendeley. RefMe offers a whole bunch of other functionality too but for me, I don’t need another reference manager. Being able to generate references in my Mendeley database using the tools RefMe provides is, however, just plain brilliant. Continue reading

A Heritage Assessment Toolkit

The latest development project for Archaeogeomancy is a GIS toolkit to support the work of a heritage consultancy team. The toolkit needed to be extensible so as to be able to add new tools as required and easy to deploy across an organisation with multiple users at multiple sites with full version control. It also needed to make complex analytical workflows accessible to users who may not necessarily be expert GIS users.

Output from the Heritage Toolkit; visual and spatial analysis

Output from the Heritage Toolkit; visual and spatial analysis using the OS Terrain 50 Digital Terrain Model

A toolkit

The optimal solution for these requirements: a toolkit implemented as an Add-In for ArcGIS. This solution leveraged the Add-In framework for the existing corporate GIS platform to provide a simple means of installing a toolbar to access a set of bespoke tools.These tools automated data management workflows and standardised analysis with a limited range of options from predefined specifications.

In addition to the spatial analysis tools, a range of tools to assist with gazetteer compilation from the usual range of statutory and non-statutory sources (eg Historic Environment Records, National Heritage Lists, etc) was implemented. These tools use source data to create a standardised gazetteer of Heritage Assets including metadata about sources used. An additional proximity output shows distances between Heritage Assets and the Development Site(s).

The Heritage Assessment Tools Toolbar

The Heritage Assessment Tools Toolbar

The toolkit was implemented using ArcGIS 10.2 as a Python Add-In; the use of an Add-In helps with deployment, version control and updates. The toolkit also makes use of the 3D Analyst extension to provide the core visibility functions. The standard ArcGIS Toolbox help system was used to provide context sensitive help for each tool and any parameters and a full html user guide was incorporated into the Add-In using standard Python webbrowser functionality.
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Maplets – static images of maps for use in applications

Toolbox by Florian Richter

Toolbox by Florian Richter

For a while now, I’ve been using the Data Driven Pages functionality of ArcGIS to output static maps, indexed by feature, to include in database driven applications such as MS Access and/or dynamic websites including Content Management Systems. This is a neat way of providing contextual location information on forms and reports in Access or on webpages without having to deploy GIS.

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Colonisation of Britain; Linked Data now live!

Late Upper Palaeolithic long blades

Late Upper Palaeolithic long blades by Wessex Archaeology

A while back, I was commissioned by Wessex Archaeology to undertake the Linked Data component of the Colonisation of Britain project. The broader project, funded by English Heritage, involved the digitisation of the archives of the late Roger Jacobi and production of enhanced database/GIS resources now archived at the ADS.

The Linked Data component involved the production of a Linked Data resource based on the Colonisation of Britain database/GIS to be included in Archaeology Data Service (ADS) Linked Data repository. I am very pleased to announce this data is now live! Continue reading

Extending CRMEH with GeoSPARQL

One of the outputs from the Pilot Study was an approach to working with geospatial data within the broader framework provided by the CIDOC CRM ontology and the CRMEH archaeological extension. Whilst there is ongoing work by myself and others to add archaeological and spatio-temporal components directly to the CIDOC CRM, for the purposes of the GSTAR project, a lightweight approach has been developed and deployed to suit the needs of the project; CRMEH already adds archaeological excavation capabilities and the spatial extension presented here gives a range of geospatial capabilities, as provided by a mapping to GeoSPARQL.

Parential Advisory by Michel Dumontier

Parential Advisory by Michel Dumontier

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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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ScARF Directory of Archaeological Scientists

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework

ScARF is the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework, yet another forward thinking move from our heritage colleagues north of the border. I never cease to be amazed by the good work emanating from up there; Scotland certainly blazes a trail for cultural heritage, a shining example of how to crack on and get good things done.

ScARF is described as follows:

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) reflects the current state of knowledge regarding Scotland’s past. As understanding of the past changes, so too will ScARF. It should be seen as a live document that will be constantly updated, edited and improved. The people developing ScARF are the people who use it: those who research Scotland’s past for enjoyment, employment, or frequently both.

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