November 2011: York Archaeology wins Queen's Anniversary Prize
The Department of Archaeology at York University, which hosts the ADS, has been given a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. Introduced following the 40th Anniversary of the Queen's reign in 1992, the prizes, which rank alongside the Queen's Awards for Industry are awarded biennially for 'work of exceptional quality and of broad benefit either nationally or internationally'. This is the fifth to be conferred on the university in 15 years, only the second time it has been awarded to a whole Department.
|18 Dec 2014|
|Google Maps Mania|
Maps Mania's Top Stories of 2014
This week I've been spending a bit of time going through the back catalog of Maps Mania hunting out my Best Maps of 2014. I thought it might be interesting to also have a quick look at the most popular stories on Maps Mania in 2014.
1. A Game of Thrones Mapped
This year only one subject could beat Pokemon and that was A Game of Thrones. The huge popularity of George Martin's series of |
|17 Dec 2014|
Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi
A write up of what was found at Deir Mar Musa in Syria - an update from 2012. Possible stone circles, stone alignments and burial chambers in Syria. Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi (the monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian) has stood at the eastern fringes of the Anti-Lebanon mountains since at least the sixth century. Thought to have been built on the remnants of a Roman watchtower, today it resembles a storybook castle perched on the edge of a steep precipice overlooking the Syrian desert.
|11 Dec 2014|
The rise of interpolated content?
|One thing that might stand out when we look back at 2014 is the rise of interpolated content. We've become used to translating around auto-correct errors in texts and emails but we seem to be at a tipping point where software is going ahead and rewriting content rather than prompting you to notice and edit things yourself. |
iOS doesn't just highlight or fix typos, it changes the words you've typed. To take one example, iOS users might use 'ill' more than they use 'ilk', but if I typed 'ilk' I'm not happy when it's replaced by an algorithmically-determined 'ill'. As a side note, understanding the effect of auto-correct on written messages will be a challenge for future historians (much as it is for us sometimes now).
And it's not only text. In 2014, Adobe previewed GapStop, 'a new video technology that eases transitions and removes pauses from video automatically'. It's not just editing out pauses, it's creating filler images from existing images to bridge the gaps so the image doesn't jump between cuts. It makes it a lot harder to tell when someone's words have been edited to say something different to what they actually said - again, editing audio and video isn't new, but making it so easy to remove the artefacts that previously provided clues to the edits is.
Photoshop has long let you edit the contrast and tone in images, but now their Content-Aware Move, Fill and Patch tools can seamlessly add, move or remove content from images, making it easy to create 'new' historical moments. The images on extrapolated-art.com, which uses '[n]ew techniques in machine learning and image processing [...] to extrapolate the scene of a painting to see what the full scenery might have looked like' show the same techniques applied to classic paintings.
But photos have been manipulable since they were first used, so what's new? As one Google user reported in It’s Official: AIs are now re-writing history, 'Google’s algorithms took the two similar photos and created a moment in history that never existed, one where my wife and I smiled our best (or what the algorithm determined was our best) at the exact same microsecond, in a restaurant in Normandy.' The important difference here is that he did not create this new image himself: Google did, without asking or specifically notifying him. In twenty years time, this fake image may become part of his 'memory' of the day. Automatically generated content like this also takes the question of intent entirely out of the process of determining 'real' from interpolated content. And if software starts retrospectively 'correcting' images, what does that mean for our personal digital archives, for collecting institutions and for future historians?
Interventions between the act of taking a photo and posting it on social media might be one of the trends of 2015. Facebook are about to start 'auto-enhancing' your photos, and apparently, Facebook Wants To Stop You From Uploading Drunk Pictures Of Yourself. Apparently this is to save your mum and boss seeing them; the alternative path of building a social network that don't show everything you do to your mum and boss was lost long ago. Would the world be a better place if Facebook or Twitter had a 'this looks like an ill-formed rant, are you sure you want to post it?' function?
So 2014 seems to have brought the removal of human agency from the process of enhancing, and even creating, text and images. Where do we go from here? How will we deal with the increase of interpolated content when looking back at this time? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
|11 Dec 2014|
Explore a collection of historical maps of Bath
|Explore a collection of historical maps of Bath
Maps ranging from 1572 to 1942 in a nice interactive way
Map and GIS News finding blog. With so many Maps and GIS sites online now it is hard to find the good from the not so good. This blog tries to cut the cream and provide you with the newest, fastest, cleanest and most user friendly maps that are available online. News has location and it is mapped.
|04 Dec 2014|
|Wessex Archaeology: Events|
We Die Like Brothers
Lying beneath the waves to the south of the Isle of Wight is the wreck of the Mendi , a Liverpool steamship which sank in 1917 with the loss of over 600 lives.
Most of the dead were men of the South African Native Labour Corps on their way to France to support Allied troops on the Western Front.
The loss was quickly forgotten in war weary Britain and suppressed in South Africa during white rule. Nearly 100 years later, the sacrifice made by the men on board has emerged to become a South African icon of equality, hope and reconciliation.
On Wednesday 10 December 2014, Coastal & Marine’s Graham Scott will be telling the story of the Mendi, and explaining how the archaeology of the wreck is now being used by the South African National War Memorial to honour and tell the story of the men on board.
The talk starts at 17.30 at the Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Building 65 B, Avenue Campus, Southampton University (SO17 1BF), and all are welcome.
|04 Dec 2014|
|The Map Room|
The Patterson Projection
|Map projections are inherently interesting, and also a great way to start a fight among a group of cartographers: just ask them their favourite and step back. Everyone has their preferred projection,...|
(Click through to read the entire post.)
|03 Dec 2014|
Without a federal UK, a reluctant ‘Yes’
|Like many other Scots resident outside Scotland, I have been following the referendum intently with a mixture of pride, envy and angst. Proud that as a nation it has engaged so fully in debate, envy that I (rightly) couldn’t take part, and angst because even now I find it hard to decide upon a vote I […]|
|17 Sep 2014|
|UK Archaeology Conferences|
In, Out and In Between: Dynamics of Cultural Borders
|17/10/2012-19/10/2012: Session focussing on dialectical relations between culture, social relations and landscape, with special interest in the reflections of ethnic boundaries in material culture..|
|03 Jul 2012|
|Computing, GIS and Archaeology in the UK|
Portable GIS vs OSGeo Live
Over the last couple of weeks, a few people have asked me the same question, which is (to paraphrase) “what’s the difference between Portable GIS and OSGeo Live or USB GIS?”. You get asked something once, and that’s fine, but more than that and it’s worth a blog post! The main difference between the two [...]|
|23 Mar 2012|
Scientists discover Oetzi's last meal
|Oetzi's body was discovered in 1991 inside a glacier near the mountainous border between Italy and Austria, where it had been naturally mummified about 5300 years ago. Previous analysis concluded...|
|18 Dec 2011|
|Professional GIS / GPS Developers Google Group|
New stable version of gvSIG Desktop available: gvSIG 1.9
A new stable version of gvSIG Desktop has been released: gvSIG Desktop |
It's available on the Downloads section of the gvSIG website:
This new version has many new features which are listed next.
|12 Nov 2009|
|Online Archaeology Blog|
OPEN ARCHIVE - a new web based system for accessing our past
|The wealth of information gathered by local archaeological groups and societies on excavations, surveys and documentary research is one of the important sources of data for the study of archaeology in the UK. Currently, this archive of British archaeology is stored locally, within libraries and local history centres as well as with the originating group [...]|
|16 Sep 2009|