Published: Aug. 28, 2014

Field mapping with total stationDr. Elspeth Dusinberre of the Classics Department hosted a series of four ArcGIS Archaeology workshops with the help of ASSETT Development Award funding and funding from the Arts and Sciences Fund for Excellence.  The participants learned how to measure Earth’s topography and make maps using ArcGIS, total stations, and (best of all) drones! 

The classes were well received, and they were so popular that they had a waiting list!  The attendees were diverse–from first year students to faculty members.  Because of the funding that Dusinberre received, the course was free for participants.

Participants met for four two hour sessions.  Each session was led by a different faculty member with different areas of geographic and historic expertise.

In the second session, students learned how to use total stations–the traditional surveying equipment in which an electronic distance meter finds the distance to three different points.

Field mapping with total stationThe third class focused on learning how to use a drone–a Phantom Vision Plus Quadcopter to be specific!  Baxter explained that drones are useful for surveying purposes because they can take accurate aerial photos and create digital elevation models–3D images of Earth’s topography.

Baxter explained that the sophisticated technology offered in the workshops is not always readily available to archaeologists and their students.  The workshops served as a unique opportunity for archaeologists and archaeology students to use sophisticated mapping equipment.  “The idea was to fill that gap and introduce students to how they can use that technology in an archaeological context,” says Baxter.

“They all received a certificate, and in general, I think had a pretty good time,” says Baxter.