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A Google-Based Freeware Solution for Archaeological Field Survey and Onsite Artifact Analysis

  • João Cascalheira (a1), Nuno Bicho (a1) and Célia Gonçalves (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

This paper introduces a new freeware digital system, based on Google/Android platforms, designed to be a fully integrated and customizable solution to record, manage, and share archaeological survey data. The core of the system is two custom smartphone/tablet applications, through which surveyors are able to retrieve geographical coordinates and relevant attribute data from archaeological locations, but also to perform onsite analysis of artifacts, including taking accurate measurements with digital calipers directly connected to the mobile devices. The system saves all data recovered in the devices' internal memory, as well as in a cloud-based spatial database (Google Fusion Tables), where data can be automatically shared and examined using a rather intuitive set of visualization tools to instantly make maps or produce exploratory charts. Using the example of a recent field survey project for Stone Age sites in Mozambique, we provide a detailed discussion of the creation and use of all hardware and software components of our solution that will allow other researchers to reproduce the methodology and customize the system to meet the needs of their own projects.

Este artículo presenta un nuevo sistema digital freeware, basado en plataformas Google/Android, diseñado para ser una solución plenamente integrada y personalizable para registrar, administrar y compartir datos de prospección arqueológica. El núcleo del sistema son dos aplicaciones de smartphone/tablet a través de las cuales los prospectores pueden recuperar coordenadas geográficas y otros atributos relevantes de los yacimientos arqueológicos, pero también realizar análisis in situ de artefactos, incluyendo mediciones precisas con calibres digitales directamente conectados a los dispositivos móviles. El sistema permite guardar todos los datos recuperados en la memoria interna de los dispositivos, así como en una base de datos espacial basada en la nube (Google Fusion Tables), donde los datos pueden ser compartidos y examinados automáticamente usando un conjunto bastante intuitivo de herramientas de visualización para instantáneamente crear mapas o producir gráficos exploratorios. Utilizando el ejemplo de un proyecto reciente de prospección de sitios de la Edad de la Piedra en Mozambique, ofrecemos una discusión detallada sobre la creación y uso de todos los componentes de hardware y software de nuestra solución, que permitirá a otros investigadores reproducir la metodología y personalizar el sistema con el fin de satisfacer las necesidades de sus proyectos.

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Advances in Archaeological Practice
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