Head in the clouds: Engaging with the web for archaeologists

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This presentation was given on 22nd of september 2011 at the Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG) in Poznan, Poland.

It explores how archaeologists could exploit citizen science collaborations to make better use of the ever proliferating quantity of aerial and satellite data.

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  • Head in the clouds: Engaging with the web for archaeologists

    1. 1. Head in the clouds: Improving knowledge by engaging with the web<br />David Stott<br />
    2. 2. Introduction<br /><ul><li>Conversations in Bucharest at AARG 2011
    3. 3. Data proliferation
    4. 4. Limited curatorial resources
    5. 5. This presentation will look at how researchers in other fields address this
    6. 6. Citizen Science
    7. 7. Cloud services and applications</li></li></ul><li>Motivation<br /><ul><li>We are acquiring more imagery every day
    8. 8. Satellite imagery
    9. 9. Aerial photographs
    10. 10. Existing archives are enormous
    11. 11. For example; TARA / NCP in the UK holds 10,000,000+ images
    12. 12. A large proportion of these images are of archaeological value
    13. 13. Most of the people working in aerial archaeology in Europe are in this room
    14. 14. Are we only scratching the surface?</li></li></ul><li>Example 1: Foldit<br /><ul><li>http://fold.it/
    15. 15. A puzzle game based on protein folding
    16. 16. 236,000+ users
    17. 17. Used to examine protein structure
    18. 18. Produces models good enough to design new anti-retroviral drugs
    19. 19. Successfully mapped the structure of a protein causing HIV in rhesus monkeys
    20. 20. Despite attempts to resolve this computationally this has been unsolved for over 15 years
    21. 21. Solved within 3 months on Foldit</li></li></ul><li>Example 2: Galaxy Zoo Hubble<br /><ul><li>http://www.galaxyzoo.org/
    22. 22. Maps and classifies galaxies from the Hubble Space Telescope Imagery
    23. 23. 250,000+ users
    24. 24. 60,000,000+ Classifications
    25. 25. Improved understanding of how galaxies function</li></li></ul><li>Carl Sagan<br />
    26. 26. WATCH <br /> COSMOS<br />Carl Sagan<br />
    27. 27. Example 3: Old weather<br /><ul><li>http://www.oldweather.org/
    28. 28. Digitising historic weather measurements from ship’s logs
    29. 29. Helps improve climate predictions
    30. 30. Very high temporal (<daily) resolution with positions all over the world
    31. 31. 238 ships
    32. 32. 150 completed so far
    33. 33. 89,000+ pages digitised</li></li></ul><li>Further examples<br /><ul><li>Ancient Lives
    34. 34. Digitising Egyptian papyri
    35. 35. http://ancientlives.org/
    36. 36. Moon Zoo
    37. 37. Mapping the moon’s surface from Lunar Reconnaissance orbiter
    38. 38. 2,000,000 images classified so far
    39. 39. http://www.moonzoo.org/</li></li></ul><li>Has anyone done this in aerial archaeology?<br /><ul><li>National Geographic: Valley of the KahnsProject
    40. 40. http://exploration.nationalgeographic.com/mongolia/
    41. 41. Users tag features on GeoEye imagery
    42. 42. 10,591 users
    43. 43. 627,057 images classified
    44. 44. 1,000,000 tags
    45. 45. Very simple
    46. 46. Point based tags</li></li></ul><li>Why do people do this?<br />"Galaxy Zoo volunteers do real work. They’re not just passively running something on their computer and hoping that they’ll be the first person to find aliens. They have a stake in science that comes out of it, which means that they are now interested in what we do with it, and what we find.”<br />
    47. 47. Why do people do this?<br /><ul><li>Contribute: I am excited to contribute to original scientific research.
    48. 48. Learning: I find the site and forums helpful in learning about astronomy.
    49. 49. Discovery: I can look at galaxies that few people have seen before.
    50. 50. Community: I can meet other people with similar interests.
    51. 51. Teaching: I find Galaxy Zoo to be a useful resource for teaching.
    52. 52. Beauty: I enjoy looking at the beautiful galaxy images.
    53. 53. Fun: I had a lot of fun categorizing the galaxies.
    54. 54. Vastness: I am amazed by the vast scale of the universe.
    55. 55. Zoo: I am interested in the Galaxy Zoo project.
    56. 56. Astronomy: I am interested in astronomy.</li></ul>From Raddick et al 2009<br />
    57. 57. Would people do this for archaeology?<br />Short answer; YES:<br /><ul><li>Local groups
    58. 58. http://www.westlothianarchaeology.org.uk/
    59. 59. Press stories of people finding archaeological sites on Google Earth
    60. 60. RCAHMS
    61. 61. http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/scotlands-rural-past.html
    62. 62. Portable Antiquities Scheme
    63. 63. http://finds.org.uk/</li></li></ul><li>What could we do with this?<br /><ul><li>Geo-referencing and tagging of imagery
    64. 64. Identification of potential archaeological features
    65. 65. Ground truthing
    66. 66. Cropmark monitoring
    67. 67. Education</li></li></ul><li>What would we need to do to achieve this?<br /><ul><li>Open our data
    68. 68. Provide training
    69. 69. http://www.moonzoo.org/how_to_take_part
    70. 70. Build and engage with a community
    71. 71. Must treat users as collaborators and not consumers
    72. 72. Relationships must be reciprocal
    73. 73. “Gamification”? e.g. FoldIt</li></li></ul><li>What would we need to do to achieve this?<br /><ul><li>Develop an infrastructure
    74. 74. Most of the software exists already
    75. 75. Web mapping e.g. WFS, WMS
    76. 76. Open StreetMap
    77. 77. Mapwarper: http://mapwarper.net/
    78. 78. Zooniverse
    79. 79. Back-end for Old Weather, Galaxy Zoo, Moon Zoo and Ancient Lives
    80. 80. Will accept proposals for projects- call deadline January 2012
    81. 81. Citizen science alliance
    82. 82. http://www.citizensciencealliance.org/philosophy.html</li></li></ul><li>“OK sounds good, but what are the problems with your digital utopia?”<br /><ul><li>Organisational inertia
    83. 83. Hostility to open data
    84. 84. Silo mentality
    85. 85. Ethics
    86. 86. Exposing sites to looting
    87. 87. We need to deal with this…</li></li></ul><li>
    88. 88.
    89. 89. Finally, some interesting tools that help us do this<br /><ul><li>Smartphones
    90. 90. GPS
    91. 91. Camera
    92. 92. Attribute data
    93. 93. Essentially a sensor in </li></ul>your pocket<br /><ul><li>Epicollect
    94. 94. http://www.epicollect.net/</li></li></ul><li>Photosynth<br /><ul><li>http://photosynth.net/default.aspx
    95. 95. Photogrammetry for the masses
    96. 96. Extraction of pointclouds
    97. 97. As easy as uploading photos to facebook
    98. 98. Quick and dirty</li></li></ul><li>
    99. 99. Conclusion:<br />“If we build it, they will come”<br />

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