A Comparison of Various Technologies to Capture Low-Altitude Aerial Photography as Alternative Methods in Mapping Archaeological Landscapes
Site-based archaeological projects often face a common challenge of producing detailed maps of large, complex areas. The use of traditional site-mapping techniques (e.g. total station) can be expensive and labor-intensive. Alternatively, a variety of platforms provide archaeologists with practical and inexpensive approaches to aerial photography and photogrammetric mapping. Here, the authors explore three different approaches to aerial photography as alternatives to traditional methods of site mapping: unmanned aerial vehicles, large-framed kites, and meteorological balloons. All three of these platforms have proven effective in terms of their ability to lift lightweight payloads that can produce high-resolution maps of extensive archaeological areas. We focus on differences and advantages of each approach from the perspective of in-field use across diverse settings as well as the post-production of high-resolution maps. Testimony of these separate technologies comes from three different sites in Peru, two within the southern highlands and one on the northern coast. Using our experience mapping these sites, pros and cons as well as a detailed methodology for attaining aerial photography with each approach are outlined.
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A Comparison of Various Technologies to Capture Low-Altitude Aerial Photography as Alternative Methods in Mapping Archaeological Landscapes. Ryan Smith, Patrick Mullins, Steve Wernke, Brian Billman. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404910)
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