April 28, 2008

Anthropologists offer Google as alternative to GIS

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubikcan @ 8:14 am

A recent post on anthropology.net touts the use of Google via a recent article in a peer reviewed journal (The Journal of Human Evolution):

An article in advance in the Journal of Human Evolution introduces how the most basic version of Google Earth can be easily used in lieu of other GIS software to display and share paleontological data. This is definitely not the first time we’ve seen news on how Google Earth has aided anthropological research, but it is one of the first times I’ve seen it be embraced in an academic, peer reviewed journal. So if you’re interested in how Google Earth can help you with managing your data, without having to invest a lot of time, effort, and money in complex GIS software, check this paper out: “Google Earth, GIS, and the Great Divide: A new and simple method for sharing paleontological data.”

The authors of the paper walk people thru how Google Earth can be used to map localities. They also ramp up the intensity, and introduce how Google Earth maps can have other maps overlaid, and how the KML files can be shared amongst people. Ultimately, they make the claim that Google Earth is the tool to disseminate paleontological information but they miss talking about some critical points.

Actually the article is in the News and Views section and can be found here. In my experience it’s archeologists that use GIS the most (in the US, archeology is part of anthropology, in the UK it tends to be stand alone).

As someone points out, Google is proprietary, whereas something like NASA World Wind is not and may be preferable. Eventually I can also see something like Openstreeetmap being used. You can already bring in Yahoo satellite imagery there and export maps as pdf, tiff, jpg and I’m sure soon there will be other exporters. (My class this semester investigated and used OSM.)

Still, nice to see the map message getting out. Via Savage Minds.


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