I was dismayed to find the latest copy of the Valley News arrive through my letterbox featuring a front page article entitled Stones bypass back on the agenda. The article comprises the opinion of a single Wiltshire councillor, Cllr. Ian West, regarding what he thinks should be done about the A303 around Stonehenge. Having worked on many of the A303 and Visitor Centre proposals over the years, I find it sad to see such a rehash of old, stale views put forward as news in such a way as this. Continue reading
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.
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 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.
Another step forward has just been announced in the world of digital heritage data mechanics. Continue reading