Tuesday, April 18, 2006

CAA 2006 Day 1: Digital Earth and Fladers Archaeology

The first day of the CAA 2006 conference has concluded. Before I head down to the hotel bar to... uh... “network”, I would like to share a bit about two interesting papers I saw today.

The first paper is a topic that was briefly covered in a previous post concerning the Tijl Vereenooghe’s Google maps based Flanders Archaeology Project "OpGraven". After reviewing this project for the audience, Tijl unveiled a new project he has begun. Erfgoed In Vlaanderenis a Flickrmap (Flickr photo database tied to a Flash map) based project mapping and providing photos of the standing historic structures of the Flanders region. Please note that Tijl is not ready to release this site just yet, so improvements will be made. By using Flickrmap, erf-goed is able to handle a larger volume of data points as compared to Googlemaps and has the social network aspect of Flickr that will allow users to include their own photos of the mapped structures. After discussing these two projects, Tijl noted that he has had to spend very little time completing these projects with a total cost of $5. That raised the eyebrows of those not familiar with the technologies. The presentation can be found here.

The second paper of interest, centering upon the Digital Earth concept, was presented by Karl Grossner of the University of California, Sante Barbara. As a student of Michael Goodchild, Grossner’s work is centered on the creation of a true “digital earth system” base on the “Geolibrary” concept. The geolibrary concept, as evolved by Goodchild, is a georeferenced, searchable, index-able, library that is served through an interface that has the ability to open and process these data with GIS tools. Gossner uses this concept and builds upon it, by defining a “digital earth system” as geolibrary that interfaces with a virtual globe model with GIS tools to create, ultimately, a massively distributed GIS. Grossner’s paper spent time differentiating the digital earth system from today’s virtual globes (Google Earth, World Wind, etc...) Whereas contemporary virtual globes are not technically GISs and are primarily concerned with information with a location, the digital earth system will be more geared towards providing knowledge about places through distributed GIS databases, Knowledge Organization Systems (authority lists, domain ontologies, review & editing capabilities), UIs, querying, and clearing houses.

Certainly this is a lofty goal, but perhaps an idea that just needs it’s time. With developments in GE, World Wind, and the new capabilities of ArcExplorer, hopefully the buildings blocks of technology will find their place in Grossner’s schema. The technology will develop in that direction, but it will require a user movement to lead to a massively distributed GIS and a few good brains to keep the course steady. As stated by James Boxall [PDF] (2002; 12) “The real issue, in relation to the development of digital earth, is where the librarians will come from in order to help shape the geolibrary component of DE [Digital Earth].”

My synopsis here is limited, so luckily, Grossner revealed that this topic will be soon published as a journal article, but I will have to track him down to find out which.

Each of these papers was presented at symposium devoted to the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI). The ECAI “uses time and space to enhance understating and preservation of human culture.” Project such as TimeMap and the Silk Road Project are derived from the ECAI. Check them out...

Tomorrow’s agenda includes modeling pathways, 3D data capture, simulation, DBs, and GIS applications.

1 comment:

Tijl said...

FYI: my presentation is available here