iphone Apps for Archaeologists

Presidio iPhone/Memory Map Test
From Remixing El Presidio, last June.

Evolution Beach has a pretty good run down of available iphone apps that archaeologists would be interested in using.

I have google earth installed, but I haven’t had much of a use for it yet.  It’s too slow on my 2G iphone and google maps does most of what I need on the iphone.  I also have Stars installed, for those late nights spent sleeping on the roof and stargazing.  I have an Arabic translator that I haven’t tried out much yet and various camera applications that make my iphone photos a bit more interesting.

There aren’t any archaeology-specific iphone apps yet though, and if I had Bill and Ted’s phone booth, I might consider developing a couple.  Unfortnately I’ve never met my way rad future self, so I’ll just put this out in the ether for a more enterprising lass to develop.

I’d love a survey program–like a modified, light-weight garmin that would tell you how many steps/meters you’ve slogged and in which direction, indicate when you’ve reached the end of your line, and would beep for your mandatory shovel test.  Then a very simple form would pop up, giving a series of yes/no questions and then offer to take a photo of the scene.  There are a couple of programs that do parts of these things, but not all of it.  It’d be a nice visual aid for the completion of paperwork at the end of the day.

I’ve already posted about the kind of functionality I’d really like, and I know there are several projects in the works to provide spatially located historical/archaeological information and we’ll see how it all shakes out in the end in respect to my dissertation.  Right now I’m just battling over keeping my basic premises intact without getting my Catal research yanked out from underneath me.  Wish me luck!

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

10 thoughts on “iphone Apps for Archaeologists”

  1. Considering I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks working in an area with multiple significant archaeological sites and no cell phone service, I would suggest that iPhone apps for archaeologists not require being connected to any sort of wireless service, much less at 3G.
    A pedometer in which you could input your pace would be nice. Having a GPS in phones that functioned like a handheld unit rather than a fancy Mapquest would be even nicer!
    We’ve tried getting digital versions of forms that can be filled out on the fancy Trimble GeoXT units we use, but no luck so far. These newer mini-laptops might be an option for going almost paperless, but I don’t know how durable those are, and if they use the online ghostware rather than fully installed software.

  2. I should also add that the most popular iPhone functions I’ve experienced in the field are using it as a driving GPS, using it to look up restaurant information, and using it to stream music in vehicles that don’t have satellite radio.

  3. I think, and this is quite a serious one we should discuss, is that something to do with Augmented Reality would be a killer Archaeological app. I am thinking in particular on site stuff – where you have some kind of GIS data or photogrammetry/3D model of a room or context or whatever, and you roll your iPhone over the live site and you see the 3D reconstruction. Theres a couple of AR apps out there (one of them a virtual santa) but as yet nothing that is completely ready to go and be manipulated for our needs. I know the guys in Southampton have been playing with AR in terms of virtual reconstructions of medieval S’oton using the cameras from PDAs – its great for tourists, etc.

    The other thing would be to properly utilise the QR barcode stuff in archaeology. I.e. slam a QR barcode into sections (instead of a nail and label w/ just the context number) so all you need is your iPhone NeoReader app (or equiv.) to immediately get the context information.

  4. Well, being a tech junkie I have to say everyone is not looking hard enough or thinking enough about this incredible tool. Here are a list of all of the apps that i have found very useful for any archaeologist. First of all, the camera. It geotags every file. When you upload it to your mac you can get a fairly accurate placement of the pics location. I have been testing it regularly against known locations and it will give me accuracy within 1 to 3 meters. This is great for any middle of know where desert survey. Gooogle earths for aerial, Geology CA (for those of us in CA), Topo maps (any topo in the US) so you can check your site location maps against your realtime position, Notes app, Compass (as acurate as my Brunton), Multiconvert app (convert any unit of measure on the fly), Grays anatomy (the whole book, searchable, a fantastic app), Historic sites app (are there any Nat Reg sites near me?) Terraphone (soils, geo, fossil info for wherever you may be), geotimescale app, level app, and any number of first aid apps. These are just some of them i use regularly. Work smarter not harder.

  5. How about a way of opening a digital copy of the plans of large complex sites, and using the gps function of the phone; being able to retrieve information for the features etc which you are stood on….

  6. Hello Colleen,
    Great blog! Well done.
    We have just released a new Archaeology App on iPhone and Android which may interest you. It’s called ‘The Archaeology App’ and gives you access to all of Ireland’s historically significant sites. Let me know if you are interested in having a browse around it. :-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: