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Despite positive and exciting new developments in high-tech archaeological surveying and information capture over recent years (terrestrial laser scanning, LIDAR, SFM rtc.) much archaeological surveying still takes place on the basis of tachymetry or RTK-GPS measurements. Also, high-tech techniques still rely on conventional surveying for anchor points and to integrate their results into existing systems. To this end – and also to combat the high costs of proprietary systems – the Landesamt fuer Denkmalpflege (Cultural Heritage Department) of the South Western German Federal State of Baden Wuerttemberg has, during the last three years, headed a project to develop freely available software for just such tasks. Written from scratch and distributed freely under an open source license, this software, Survey2GIS, is a compact and flexible solution for handling topographic survey data. It is capable of processing 2D or 3D point measurements into complex geometrical objects (points lines and polygons), including multipart features and polygons with holes. The output generated by Survey2GIS is ideal for direct use in GIS. Input data consist of one or more survey data files with coded coordinates. This data can come from a variety of Data collected in the field using, for example, a total station or GPS device or even preexisting cadastral files. Output data is the common ESRI(tm) Shapefile format (2D or 3D), according to geometry type and with complete attribute data. This process can be fully steered using a user-definable parser, thus allowing flexible adaptation to individual survey workflows and data structures.
The software is user friendly, easy to learn and feature rich with detailed protocolling to support quality assurance and consistent documentation of all processed data. During its development, high priority has been given to the generation of topologically correct output, suitable for quantitative analysis in GIS. This includes functions for the elimination of duplicate points, snapping to vertices and to polygon boundaries and modeling inset polygons Survey2GIS runs under Windows (XP – 10) and linux. Survey2GIS is especially comfortable as a plugin for the open source desktop GIS gvSIG-CE.
This software is distributed under the GNU General Public License and is freely available for all to use.
David Bibby (Germany)