W3G conference: Geodata at the British Museum


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W3G conference: Geodata at the British Museum

  1. 1. Geodata use at the British Museum<br />Enhancing archaeological records<br />Daniel Pettdpett@britishmuseum.org<br />
  2. 2. Portable Antiquities Scheme<br />17,900 contributors of data<br />640,000 objects recorded<br />400,000 geo-referenced find spots<br />All available under CC NC-BY-SA<br />Driving archaeological knowledge of rural areas<br />Funded by DCMS<br />Employ 56 people<br />Deal with public discovery of archaeology<br />Started in 1997<br />Costs £1.4mill per annum<br />IT budget c.£5000<br />
  3. 3. Recording: one chance<br /><ul><li> Our staff generally have one chance to record
  4. 4. Dissemination online is swift, cheap, easy
  5. 5. There is no other archaeological database of this size
  6. 6. It is underused for research at present
  7. 7. The data it contains can tell a thousand stories of our shared heritage</li></li></ul><li>Objects by year<br />449,359 objects online @ 23:20 26/2/10 – 400K in 7 years!<br />
  8. 8. Most data is sourced from metal-detecting<br />
  9. 9. GPS co-ordinates if possible<br />
  10. 10. All objects recorded online<br />
  11. 11. The Staffordshire Hoard<br />
  12. 12. Frome (Somerset) Hoard<br />
  13. 13. Crosby Garrett (Lancashire) Helmet<br />
  14. 14. A more normal discovery<br />
  15. 15. Objects referencing place:The Staffordshire Moorlands trulla<br />This is a list of four forts located at the western end of Hadrian's Wall; Bowness (MAIS), Drumburgh (COGGABATA), Stanwix (UXELODUNUM) and Castlesteads (CAMMOGLANNA). it incorporates the name of an individual, AELIUS DRACO and a further place-name, RIGOREVALI. <br />http://www.finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/49791<br />
  16. 16. Have you noticed a pattern?<br />Big discoveries named after place…<br />Place => sense of identity<br />
  17. 17. Why is the spatial data so important?<br />Without provenance:<br /><ul><li> A museum cannot acquire an object
  18. 18. Is it looted?
  19. 19. Did the landowner give permission?
  20. 20. Context has been lost, we don’t know the significance of the location of discovery.</li></li></ul><li>"X" never, ever marks the spot. <br />Indiana Jones: Last Crusade <br />
  21. 21. All objects we have recorded<br />1997 – 2010<br />Topographical features drive discovery<br />Landowners and regulations can prevent discovery<br />Biases present in data collection eg. Staff illness, lack of car etc etc<br />
  22. 22. Here be mountains<br />Staff based here<br />
  23. 23.
  24. 24.
  25. 25. Using YQL<br />Reverse geocode for WOEID for each findspot against flickr.places<br />Get flickrshapefile if exists for WOEID<br />Obtain a co-ordinate for findspots where only place is known (lower weight for academic use though).<br />Obtain elevation via the geonamesapi (for viewshed analysis – surprisingly good!)<br />Find objects within bounding boxes<br />Query for archaeology images on flickr<br />
  26. 26. Problems <br />Hit rate limit quickly – now using Oauth calls to Yahoo apis<br />Had to filter out places eg Copper Alloy, Tamil Nadu was constantly pulled out with Placemaker<br />Took time to process 400,000 records for geodata<br />
  27. 27. Display problems<br />Public users can only see find spots at a resolution of 1km sq or 4 figure NGR<br />Some find spots have to be hidden from public view completely – we give a place a pseudonym<br />Maps make our finders and landowners jumpy<br />Zoom level had to be reduced for public users<br />WOEID can give away find location<br />
  28. 28. Enhanced geo data via flickrshapefiles & Yahoo! geoplanet<br />
  29. 29. This object only has a known place of discovery<br />So Yahoo! does legwork and produces geodata<br />
  30. 30. Integration of old OS Maps<br />Layer provided by National Library of Scotland<br />
  31. 31. Water Newton (Cambs) rally<br />Roman town of Durobrivae<br />
  32. 32. Re-use of OS and EH point data<br />Both of these datasets came as CSV, now converted from grid refs to Lat/Lng and WOEID (and also elevation for centre point) if anyone wants them.<br />
  33. 33. Data export<br />All searches can be turned into KML/JSON/CSV/XML (however point data degraded to 1km square unless higher level user)<br />Can be easily imported into Google maps for instance<br />One example is a search for objects by Parliamentary constituency (powered by YQL on theyworkforyou and Haversine formula) <br />
  34. 34. Simple YQL query: <br />select * from twfy.getGeometry where name=‘Stratford-on-Avon’;<br />Powered by theyworkforyouapi<br />
  35. 35. <results><br /> <twfy><br /> <max_e>436973.6</max_e><br /> <centre_lat>52.168328098</centre_lat><br /> <area>670735121.325</area><br /> <max_n>274456.4</max_n><br /> <min_lat>51.9553938864</min_lat><br /> <max_lat>52.3680842693</max_lat><br /> <min_n>228616</min_n><br /> <max_lon>-1.46139563588</max_lon><br /> <centre_lon>-1.71287824875</centre_lon><br /> <centre_n>252253.483284</centre_n><br /> <parts>1</parts><br /> <min_e>402695.3</min_e><br /> <centre_e>419756.726723</centre_e><br /> <min_lon>-1.96200666642</min_lon><br /> <name>Stratford-on-Avon</name><br /> </twfy><br /> </results><br />
  36. 36. Objects in David Cameron’s constituency<br />
  37. 37. What archaeologists would like: A database of places – ancient & modern?<br />Ancient place names<br />Dates in use<br />Co-ordinates at that time<br />Affiliation (political)<br />Example database – Pleiades, NYU http://pleiades.stoa.org/<br />Modern place names<br />
  38. 38. The end.<br />Visit our website : www.finds.org.uk<br />Contact me: dpett@britishmuseum.orgTwitter: @portableant<br />