UAV-based Mapping and 3D Modeling of Maya Sites in the Northern Yucatán

Author(s): Zebulon Hart; Mitchell Grothaus; Timothy Hare

Year: 2017


During our 2015 and 2016 field seasons, we mapped and created 3D models of numerous excavation sites in the Northern Yucatán. Several of these sites are located in Mayapan’s periphery and many were scheduled for destruction due to highway expansion. We used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones) to carry photographic equipment to collect both vertical and oblique photos as well as videos. In several areas we used both visible light and a near-infrared (NIR) cameras. The resulting images were processed in photogrammetric software to generate orthorectified airphoto mosaics and 3D models of each fieldwork location. These products were integrated into a Geographical Information System (GIS) to facilitate analysis. In this poster, we outline the technology and data processing workflow used and display the regional overview of all fieldwork sites with examples of notable maps and models. The various sites include small groups of residential and public architecture, different sizes of platforms, and some monumental architecture. Fieldwork at mapped locations range from minimal clearing of vegetation with test excavations to completely cleared with broad horizontal excavations.

Cite this Record

UAV-based Mapping and 3D Modeling of Maya Sites in the Northern Yucatán. Zebulon Hart, Mitchell Grothaus, Timothy Hare. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430334)

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3D Mapping UAV

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17348