Electronic Mapping of Underwater Sites

  • Peter J. A. Waddell
Part of the The Springer Series in Underwater Archaeology book series (SSUA)


Electronic mapping of underwater sites has been undertaken with limited success from at least the mid-1970s. Some of the earlier work involved simple submersible acoustical guns; however, published results on that work have been difficult to find. Recently, electronic mapping has generated more interest with the use of SHARPS (Sonic High Accuracy Ranging and Positioning System) on many underwater sites (Shomette, 1988:3; Hamilton, 1988:6; Watts, 1989:156; Marc, 1989:43). Unfortunately, few final site maps have been published although much usable data have been collected. In the fall of 1987 the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Canadian Parks Service (CPS) began experimenting with SHARPS for three-dimensional archaeological mapping. Since that time CPS has employed the system on three separate wreck sites of increasing complexity. Supplementary records were obtained using conventional techniques. From these experiences we can suggest the supplementary recording and general methods required to produce usable archaeological maps. This should aid in determining if electronic mapping is a suitable tool on specific projects.


Historical Archaeology Final Plan Electronic Mapping Site Plan Mapping Diver 
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  4. Watts, G.P. 1989, The Sinkentine: A Fiberglass Shipwreck Model to Assist in Teaching Three-Dimensional Mapping. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 18(2): 151–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. A. Waddell

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