The Role of GIS During Intensive Field Survey
In KIP, we have sought to establish a balance between embracing digital technology and becoming too preoccupied with it. A good example is the use of GIS during field survey. KIP data collection in the field was usually non-digital: it relied on hard copy maps or photos and written records, and only more rarely on GPS, total station survey and dataloggers. Rather, GIS was deployed on a 'day-before, day-after' basis. The day before fieldwork was carried out in a given area, it was used to design field strategies, estimate probable coverage rates and produce print-outs of paper maps or rectified aerial photos. The day after fieldwork, the completed survey units were digitised, field records entered in the database and any inconsistencies checked with the field personnel involved. Tract maps of artefact density were then produced that fed back into next day survey design.
While we hope and expect low-budget GPS, digital video and palmtop dataloggers to become increasingly central to survey work in the future, there remain sound reasons to create a paper record at or near the time of field observation. The main advantages are summarised below:
Digital tools (hardware and software) offer important advantages for surface survey, and modern GIS now provides the framework for them to feed back into survey strategy during the fieldwork stage. We strongly advocate this dynamic link, but wish to emphasise the risk that such tools could be deployed indiscriminately or inappropriately with respect to project objectives (resulting in wasted time and money).