Monday, September 23, 2013

Special Topics in Archaeology: Student Spotlight

GIS4990/5990 Special Topics in Archaeology, Dr. Scott Palumbo

Finding Maya Pyramids: Report and Publication

This week, students completed their study of the classified Maya Pyramids Landsat imagery. So far, they have learned the significance of the different bands in Landsat imagery, as well as their applications to archaeological data, and they have learned how to generate composite band images and create a training sample for supervised classification. Now that they have a classified image that indicates where additional archaeological resources may be located, students will transform that information into a tool that can be accessed by either our colleagues, a client, or the general public. The final portion of each of the modules will deal with presenting information in a format that is accessible to a wider public, as this is a key component of GIS archaeological studies. We may be the best GIS technicians in the world, but that does us little good if we can’t get our information to a wider audience! 

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Edit a raster image to display select information
  • Export raster data to .kml or .kmz formats
  • View and share this data in Google Earth
  • Compare our Maya perspective to Southeast Asia (undergrads)
  • Begin a comparative analysis in Southeast Asia (grads)


The following student was chosen for their exceptional work on the Finding Maya Pyramids: Report and Publication assignment:

Andrea McCarthy

About Andrea: Andrea is an archaeologist living in Baton Rouge, LA.  She went to LSU for her undergrad in Anthropology and got her Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of New Orleans.  She currently uses GIS in the field and in the office.  Andrea is about to start a new job in Historic Preservation, which is her passion, and will be the GIS specialist for the State of Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation.  

Congratulations on being this week's student spotlight!

What we like: One of the things we particularly liked about Andrea's project was her ability to use the skills practiced for the classification of satellite imagery in Guatemala and translate them to Cambodia. Both Cambodia and Guatemala have roughly similar environments and the archaeological sites in each both contain stone architecture. Andrea was able to critically assess the utility of different classification types in each area and, in Cambodia, come to a rough estimate of the spatial distribution of stone architecture and canal features

Tune in next week on the same bat channel to see our spotlight on Special Topics in GIS!

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