The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

This blog sets out to bring together experiences of archaeologists using iPads.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

18th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia

Virtual Systems in the Information Society
Milan, Italy, 2-5 September 2012


The International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM) is the premier forum for the presentation of research on 3D acquisition, multimedia visualization, interaction technologies and their applications. Known for its multidisciplinary approach, VSMM has become a bridge between technology, art, history, science and engineering. Held annually since 1995 (excepting 2011 when the Egyptian conference was cancelled for public safety reasons), VSMM2012 will be the 18th gathering of the VSMM Society.
As the "Information Society" has matured, interaction with digital worlds through virtual systems and multimedia is finally reaching everyday users. The last few years have witnessed a dramatic growth in 3D "consumer" technology (from stereoscopic television to 3D interaction devices for videogames and from 3D gesture control for tablet computers to augmented reality on smartphones), together with a progressive increase in broadband digital infrastructure. Virtual and augmented reality technologies, once the domain of elite laboratories, are now commonplace. From cultural heritage, where 3D content is today almost a requirement, to medicine, the arts, film, and games, quick and accurate 3D content generation and its remote manipulations is increasingly important.  What is next?  Will virtual visits supplant actual tourism, or will the virtual create greater need to see the real?  How will ubiquitous 3D change everyday life?

Protecting your iPad

The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.  Yes, but it needs some protection before taking it into the field.

After looking seriously at the wealth of protective cases offered for the ipad, I have come to the conclusion that the best protection is offered by the Drop Tech Series iPadCase.  The standard model has a thick rubber surround with Reinforced rubber bumpers on the corners.  the screen is protected by a replaceable screen cover - no lifting or removing a cover - your iPad is protected during use and the touch screen is every bit as responsive with the cover in place.

If you want even more protection, then you can try the Military Edition, which has a thicker rubber case.  An impressive video on the Drop Tech site shows a paintball gun being fired at the iPad's screen.  The iPad suffered less damage than the poor guy holding it!

Drop Tech Series  Military Edition

The only problem with these cases is that they are not waterproof, and I would not like to take them out in very heavy rain.  This brings me to my second line of defence - the Aquapac iPad case.  This gives submergible protection against water, but offers no protection against rough handling

Happily, you can use the two together.  Amazingly, the touch screen is still totally responsive though the Aquapac and the Drop Tech screen cover.

I shall be taking my iPad to carry all my notes, plans and maps when I take the EMAS group on its Easter field trip to South West Ireland.  With this level of protection, I have no fears for its safety.

Aquapac and Drop Tech Series  Military Edition

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Week in iPad Cases: Fortune and glory

The third-generation iPad is still front-and-center in the minds of accessory manufacturers, but that doesn't mean those of us with older iPads must take a back seat. In fact, several of the cases and bags covered this week will even work with Apple's first-generation iPad.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

New iPad Review: A Sharper Focus for Apple’s Tablet

Remarkably high resolution and LTE wireless broadband make the market-dominating tablet even more formidable.

Apple, as everyone knows, has an exceptional track record for revolutionizing the product categories it enters. But it’s at least as talented at — I hope this is a word — evolutionizing them.
 It’s a remarkably predictable process. The company starts by releasing an epoch-shifting gadget such as the first iPod, Phone or iPad. Then it relentlessly improves it, refining the original idea with additional polish and better technology on a more-or-less yearly schedule.

The new iPad, which went on sale on March 16, is all about that additional polish and better technology. Which means that Apple’s unexpected decision to call it simply “iPad,” with no modifier, makes sense. This isn’t a different kind of iPad — it’s the device the company envisioned from the start, brought into sharper focus. (It loaned me a new iPad with Verizon wireless broadband for this review.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Indiana Jones goes geek: Laser-mapping LiDAR revolutionizes archaeology

"This is it—the paradigm shift," archaeologist Chris Fisher told Ars. "Just like the advent of radiocarbon dating, LiDAR will have the same impact."

LiDAR, or "light detection and ranging," acts as a sort of radar with light, painting the target area with lasers and recording the time it takes to reflect back to the instruments.

An archaeologist specializing in Western Mexico, Fisher studies the way environments affect and change cultures. LiDAR has helped him repaint the picture of ancient Mexico, bringing the little-known Purepecha empire a lot more historical prominence.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Take a look at the new iPad - video

Technology editor Charles Arthur gives us a preview of the latest iPad, unveiled by Apple on Wednesday. It features a high-definition retina display and an improved camera dubbed 'iSight', and will be able to connect to high-speed 4G networks

Watch the video...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

ProfHacking Abroad: Hardware Choices for Living In Europe

By Prof. Hacker

I am in the highly enviable situation to be on sabbatical this academic year, made doubly so by being on a fellowship in Germany for the year. The last time I was abroad for an extended time was in 1991, when I spent a semester in London as an undergraduate. Thinking back to that stay, it’s striking how much my technological life has changed: I brought no computer to London, writing papers on the typewriter provided by our program, with my major technological burden being a Discman player, powered external speaker set, and dozens of CDs I brought to avoid months of silence. Twenty years later, I brought 20 full days worth of music self-contained on my hard drive, with no CDs needed, and limitless access to more online. While technologies are smaller and more powerful, they are also more complicated, forcing choices and strategies on how to plan your digital relocation.

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"3D visualization for the study and management of complex archaeological sites"

Dear Colleagues,

We have the pleasure to announce the opening of the call for the

Third Specialization Forum
"3D visualization for the study and management of complex archaeological sites",

organised in the framework of the European Radio-Past Project.

The Forum will take place from
July 2 - 7, 2012, in Hainburg (Austria), near Carnuntum, a location that is appropriate for the focus on data interpretation and virtual reconstruction. 

Following the standards of the past two years, the teaching staff will again consist of academic and specialist lecturers from excellent European research institutes.

Further information can be found in the attached Call and the Registration Form, which both can also be downloaded from our website ( Registrations have to be submitted before March 30, 2012, to: cornelia.fische (AT)

Download further details here... (as Word doc)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is Digital Public Archaeology?

The rapid pace of change within Internet technologies has significantly expanded the paradigm of, and potential for, a ‘digital’ form of Public Archaeology, which I define in my thesis as the methodology for engaging the Internet-using public with archaeology through Web and mobile technologies, social media applications, and the communicative process through which this engagement is mediated online.

Digital Public Archaeology as both theory and practice has been the subject of limited research to date. My PhD research aims to redress this situation by illuminating the current state, and future direction, of digital Public Archaeology projects and practises, with a specific focus on the United Kingdom. The computer-mediated source material for this thesis includes the use of websites, blogs, online databases, discussion forums and email lists, Facebook, Twitter, online photo management and sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr, online video sites and tools for sharing text, publications and presentations. It includes mobile phone applications, Augmented Reality, online databases, computer games and open publishing. All of these Internet-enabled technologies will be considered, as part of a tool kit for knowledge-sharing and participation in online archaeology, as a medium for the encouragement and support of intra-disciplinary networking and community building, and as a methodology for engaging people with wider heritage issues. This research will identify and discuss the many technical and socio-economic issues that surround the adoption and practice of digital Public Archaeology in the main institutional settings where Public Archaeology is practised today:

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