Saturday, May 13, 2006

Historic Reconstruction with SketchUp

A quick post from a current project. This is a SketchUp interpretation of a historic structure from archaeological field data and historic records. Without going into too much detail, this is a quick image of a reconstructed 19th century paper mill that once stood in front of George Washington’s headquarters in Valley Forge, PA. While Washington was in tenure, the mill works included a Grist Mill and Saw Mill. In the 1840’s the Grist Mill burned and was rebuilt close to the original spot. Then in the 1860’s, the much larger paper mill was constructed, which encompassed the previous structures.The Model of Washington’s Headquarters is accurate to the modern standing reconstruction. Apparently, the building has been remodeled to its historic image at least three times.

Google Maps Link to Area

Google Earth Link to Area (sorry, no models)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mapchester: Citizen Cartography Mapping Project

After the successful venture of Mass Mapping the Isle of Wight, an movement organized by, University of Salford, University of Manchester, and Futuresonic plan to create an opensource "wikimap" of Manchester.

"Mapchester will generate a new kind map of Manchester - produced by collective, community effort that will be completely copyright-free."
Aside from creating license free data from this project, Mapchester is also driven by the initiative to get people to participate in their local geography and empower them to take an active role in their 'places'.

This event will be held Saturday 13th and Sunday the 14th of May (This weekend!). Mapchester HQ is on the Lower Ground Floor, 117-119 Portland Street, Manchester M1 6ED, see or this Google Map
(The space has been generously provided by the Manchester Digital Development Agency and they are also helping in signing people up to take part.)

Here is a link to the online invite.

Site News: site down for the moment

If there is anyone trying to reach, I apologize for the inconvenience. has been down for over 24 hours due to a server change at my hosting service. I think the downtime is unacceptable and plan to switch hosting services in the near future.

Sorry for the delay; I will try to have the site back on it's feet as soon as possible.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

2nd International Conference on Remote Sensing in Archaeology

From Space to Place

December 4-7, Rome Italy. The 2nd International Conference on Remote Sensing in Archaeology deadline for abstracts is just around the corner (May 30th). Along with the entitled topic of Remote Sensing, the issues covered by this conference run the gamut of technology used in Archaeology. Landscape, environment, ecosystem, image processing, virtual reality, 3D visualization, conservation, geophysics, photogrammetry, open source and Web-GIS are all topics fit for this conference.

“Sense of place is also sense of time, difference between space and place, between ‘global’ and ‘local’. The world process of globalization is removing places and multiplying spaces, reducing the cultural differences. In particular the dissemination of not-places, stations, hypermarkets, hotels, etc. risks to make uniform our perception, reducing what we perceive of the world to a few mental maps. Therefore we want to highlight one the fundamental tasks of remote sensing archaeology, namely, the capacity to use spatial technologies for recovering and identifying places and the sense of place in collaboration with the local communities.”

As described in this text from the conference abstract, the organizers intend to demonstrate how various technologies can be used to bring a sense of place back to archaeological data and interpretation. In my humble opinion, this is a fantastic goal and something that all archaeological technologists should be thinking about.

Being that a snow ball has a better chance in Death Valley than I do of making it to this conference; I hope that the proceedings will be offered online, as is the case with the 3D Imaging and Modeling conference in the previous post.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Online Proceedings from “3D Digital Imaging and Modeling”

Posted by Jeff Thurston at Vector One, here are the full-text [pdf] proceedings from the 2005, Italy-Canada workshop on 3D Digital Imaging and Modeling Applications of Heritage, Industry, Medicine and Land” held in Padova, Italy, May 17th and 18th.

Taking a quick look at the keywords and paper titles, there are no less than 10 references to Cultural Heritage and 5 each for Archaeology and Architecture. There are also a handful of papers discussing 3D techniques with Geomorphology.

Reading back a few posts to my coverage of the CAA conference, there were a few references to the presence of the 3D community at the conference. One observation that struck me is that the all of the companies (~6 to 8 ) in the exhibitor’s hall served some aspect of 3D data collection or visualization. Mostly, these companies focused on 3D laser scanning. Further, the conference CAA program had a symposium on 3D data acquisition. This symposium functioned as a kind of Q&A showcase for the 3D companies.

The strong presence of the commercial 3D laser camp got me thinking. Is there a huge demand from Cultural Heritage and Archaeology that draws in these companies? Companies that are more traditionally focused on mechanical, medial, and industrial applications; projects that generally have bigger budgets that an archaeology dig. Or, do the 3D companies see a fertile ground for broadening their application base? Perhaps the heavy 3D marketing in Cultural Heritage is just the 3D companies getting their foot in the door, something that is plenty common at other industries, but not as much so in Archaeology and Heritage Management.

This is a topic to keep an eye on. If the 3D acquisition technology continues to become more affordable, or CR project’s budgets make room for these technologies, it is certainly something of use. The industry behind it has a good history and is full of really smart and innovative people.

Coincidently, I am working on a project this week that involves 3D laser scanned data and archaeology. This is my first project that integrates 3D laser data, archaeological field data, traditional GIS data, and interpretative visualization. There have been some bumpy paths leading to the coherent integration of all these data sets. When finished I plan to share some of the results.

Point cloud image from: