05 Jul Mapping History
Since I’ve been here at Colorado National Monument my weeks have been filled with a new kind of experience each week. There is so much to learn and a lot to gain from those experiences, I am surprised I can retain all the information thrown at me week to week! You can never go wrong with starting a Monday off learning something new! At least not for me. It gets me excited and more curious about what we are currently working on. Tracey, one of my coworkers, showed me how to use the Trimble device before we began surveying the area. The Trimble is a GPS unit that holds Terrasync and ArcPad, two programs that are function similarly to GIS (Geographic Information Systems), that are used for capturing, storing, and displaying different kinds of data related to your position on Earth. ArcPad and Terrasync gather GIS/GPS data to use later on the GIS program. This makes it easier for many to understand different patterns and relationships, in our case those specific to archaeological sites found in our survey areas. I learned how to work my way around ArcPad, the program we use at the Monument, to take feature points, photo points, geographic boundaries, and artifact points. The GPS can be difficult to use at times because it sits out in the heat all day and doesn’t want to work occasionally, however, overall it was fun to learn and a new skill set I can add to the collection. Thursday was another interesting day as I got to venture off from my normal routine and work with another intern, Elliot. I got to learn how to assess the condition of historic features such as retaining walls, drainages, and tunnels. Elliot has already been working on this for quite some time now, updating records and going out into the field to assess the condition of these features. So today I got to go out with him and learn what he does on a day to day basis. I learned how to determine whether the features were in good, fair, or poor condition. This was based not only of the structures integrity, but also if there was silt building up in drainages, vegetation that was impeding its function, or rocks that were blocking the way. The picture on the right shows an example of a drainage in good condition, that had no obstructions to it nor did it have any man made walls that were falling apart. It only suffered from erosion, which most structures will eventually deteriorate over time Later we went back to the office and updated each individual record to what we had observed in the field today versus what was previously recorded the last time it was cataloged. Towards the end of the day, Allison showed me the ins and outs of GIS. This program is pretty complex, but I think with a few days of practice I can get it down in no time. I have had a few classes on it in college so I guess I get to find out how much of it actually stuck! I think it’ll be more complicated to figure out the structure and the way things my supervisor wants tasks completed. But I am thoroughly excited to start that up. She also showed me the ASMISS forms online. Which basically describes the overall condition of the archaeological site.