1. Introduction

This article describes a project set up to explore the potential of web-based tools for archaeological interpretation of LIDAR data by a non-expert audience. This is accomplished through the creation of bespoke web-based tools designed to facilitate crowdsourced transcription of archaeological features, and trialled through a case study using LIDAR data covering 100km swathe of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire. A group of non-expert volunteers were tasked with transcribing archaeological features and generating feedback on both the effectiveness of the application and their user experience.

The application of remote-sensed data in archaeology is increasingly prevalent in both the historic environment sector and academic research. In particular, Light Detection And Ranging, or LIDAR, is now frequently utilised to inform archaeological prospection and interpretation. Along with the increasing sophistication in data capture, digital technologies including GIS and geovisualisation in archaeology have developed rapidly, allowing for detailed spatial analysis and increasingly complex and immersive data presentation methods. These technologies have also contributed to an increased convergence of the roles of 'academic, fieldworker and cultural resource manager' through web-based discussion groups focusing on sharing knowledge and experience among the professional community (Wheatley and Gillings 2002, 218). Outside the professional realm, increased public access to advanced spatial software packages could provide the impetus for development of innovative, collaborative methodologies and approaches to archaeological landscapes (Chapman 2006, 175). This introductory section will outline the key principles, developments and notable applications of LIDAR and web-based GIS visualisation of remote sensed and archaeological data. In addition, relevant academic discourse related to cartography and the role emergent technologies are playing in geospatial disciplines will be explored.


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