Geographic Information Systems

  • Ian Roderick Mather
  • Gordon P. WattsJr.
Part of the The Springer Series in Underwater Archaeology book series (SSUA)


Spatial relationships between artifacts, features, and sites are at the heart of archaeology. The traditional way archaeologists recover, represent, and store spatially referenced data is through analog (printed) maps and site plans, which use lines, polygons, points, color, shading patterns, symbols, scale, and a key to preserve and present the information. In essence, the map and its key form a spatially related database. Although a resourceful investigator can present a variety of thematic maps, scatter plots, and site plans in this way, the archaeologist’s analog chart has intrinsic limitations. Invariably, archaeological data must be generalized to prevent the map from becoming cluttered and incomprehensible. Limitations of space and clarity mean that analog maps must display only a minute fraction of the available data. Underwater archaeologists work in a new and nascent discipline, but the volume and variety of professionally produced, spatially referenced data is already difficult to calculate.


Geographic Information System Archaeological Site United States Geological Survey Cultural Resource Differential Global Position System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Roderick Mather
    • 1
  • Gordon P. WattsJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology, Department of HistoryUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for International Maritime Research, Inc.WashingtonUSA

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