Modern Tools – GIS and Total Stations

Dieser Beitrag entstand im Rahmen des e-learning Kurs Alpine Archaeology: tools and techniques, Abt. Ur- und Frühgeschichte, UZH

During my studies and practicals in Mediterranean archaeology in Spain I’ve learned a lot about Geo Referencing Systems, GPS and GIS.

In fact, one of my professors in the Autonomic University in Barcelona and also my supervisor during my digs in Port de la Selva, Spain, Carme Ruestes, wrote her Master Thesis about GIS and its application in archaeological projects and as well as a couple of articles in some international archaeology journals. So, I became convinced of the benefits of using Geographical Information System on fieldwork and computer visualising programs as well.

Me in Port the la Selva using a Dumpy Level to take measurements

Me in Port the la Selva using a Dumpy Level to take measurements

Well, let’s make a little description about what is a Geographical Information System or GIS and the advanced tools that we need in their application. GIS is a model of a part of reality referred to a ground coordinate system and built to meet specific information needs. In the strictest sense, is an information system able to integrate, store, edit, analyze, share and display geographically referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS are tools that allow the investigators to create interactive queries, analyze spatial information, edit data, maps and present the results of their projects.

In port the la Selva with the Team and Prof. Carme Ruestes (Right)

In port the la Selva with the Team and Prof. Carme Ruestes (Right)

The process that an archaeologist follows is this: first, on the emplacement, 3 dimensional measurements, taking the point z or height with a Dumpy level in meter above sea level. That measurements use to be employed to create de section or “cut” or for 3 dimensional reconstructions.

The point y and point x can be taken by “traditional” ways but it is better using a Total station. That little and awesome machine measures the location (coordinates) of points in relation to a pre-determined geographical location. All these coordinates can be sent to a computer or terminal to be worked on.

An example of a Total station.

An example of a Total station.

Next we superimpose the coordinates over a topographic map from our data bases with the help of computer programmes like ArcGIS, ArcMap, and so on. That permits us to compose our project map to create a clear cartography of the place.

On the following links and pictures you could find more information about how it works and also extra information about it applications on archaeology and other fields:
(This is part of the top link. Unfortunately, you need to subscribe to see the rest.)
(Here you can download the PDF)
(German Web site about the ArcGIS Programmes and Systems)


Eine Antwort zu “Modern Tools – GIS and Total Stations

  1. Pingback: Modern Tools GIS | Alpine Archäologie

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