Mapping from the Heavens: UAV(Drone) Data Collection at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico

Author(s): Alex E. Badillo; Marc Levine

Year: 2018


The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in archaeology has increased rapidly in recent years as drones have become more affordable and easy to use. Accessible commercial grade equipment can quickly capture data to produce maps and 3D models of high accuracy and precision. During the Summer of 2017, the Proyecto Geofísico de Monte Albán (PGMA) integrated the use of a UAV technology into their geophysical survey project at the UNESCO world heritage site of Monte Albán located in Oaxaca, Mexico. The main plaza and the surrounding monumental architecture was captured using aerial photographs and digitally reconstructed to scale in 3-dimensions. In this presentation, we present on data collection techniques, post-processing methods, and discuss some of the results of UAV mapping and photogrammetry within the context of the broader geophysical project at Monte Albán. Throughout, we discuss some of the successes and challenges of UAV mapping and post-processing. Finally, we explore the use of UAVs and 3D modeling in archaeology that go beyond visualization.

Cite this Record

Mapping from the Heavens: UAV(Drone) Data Collection at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico. Alex E. Badillo, Marc Levine. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444904)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20950