ALA GIS Team at CAA Australasia Online Conference 2020

ALA GIS Team at the CAAA Conference 2020. 

Our GIS Officer, Helen Nguyen-Mallen reports.


Screen Shot from Online Conference Session

The CAA (Computer Applications in Archaeology) Australasia Online Conference 2020 ran over the 15-16 September and it was great to attend with fellow members of the ALA GIS team- albeit virtually! Four overarching topics were spread over the two day conference; Photogrammetry, Data management, GIS and Quantitative archaeology. Elements of photogrammetry with 3D capture, digitising and modelling as well as laser scanning were a key feature of the sessions. Both open source and proprietary software were used with the most popular being MeshLab/Blendr and Agisoft suite (Capture, Photoscan).  There were ethics and best practice discussions on the use of modern techniques and the implication of the digital movement to the field of archaeology.

A highlight was definitely ALA’s Dr Katherine Thomas presenting on best practice for RPAs, digital twins (3D models) and an introduction to quantum computing considering its potential for archaeology. We also had Dr Jacqui Tumney, our Lithics/GIS Manager co-author the Sahul time paper which involved mapping time-based phenomena (history, archaeology, geology) globally generating Google Earth compatible datasets.

An exciting element of the conference was to see the applications of 3D scanning technology displaying the repair of historical objects, organic material analysis done by different remote sensing technology, and the discussion of our obligation as heritage consultants and archaeologist to steward data in a way that it will be accessible and protect the privacy and values of the custodians.

The major surprise over the weekend for me, was the amount of research going into the medium of video games and augmentation reality apps to reach the public. There was open source mobile app development for archaeology, and discussion on the big data storage issue for future analysis which highlights the importance of IT-literacy in our industry. There are definitely inspiring research opportunities for spatial analysis of artefacts due to big data sets and powerful desktop modelling. All in all, I’m excited for the future of archaeology!

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