Data Development

Data development began in February 2008.

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A previous Jordanian database used at the DoA called JADIS (Jordan Antiquities Database and Information System) was developed in the early 1990s through a project of the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) and by a team led by Gaetano Palumbo, and later converted into a geographic information system (GIS) by Stephen Savage of Arizona State University. JADIS contained a total of 10,408 records on archaeological sites. Although each of these records had numerous fields of information regarding a given site, the location of each site was only identified by a single geographic coordinate and contained no information on the boundaries of the site. The JADIS location data also needed to be verified for accuracy using new and more accessible technologies that generally were not available when JADIS data was collected, such as GPS and Google Earth™.

The location of site boundaries is essential information for the DoA when confronted with protecting archaeological sites from, among other things, development. The new system, therefore, will require polygons (comprised of three or more points) to identify each site boundary. It will also benefit from the ability to record the location of elements within site boundaries, including points (for smaller elements such as wells); lines (for such elements as roads or walls); and polygons (for elements like mosques, churches, theaters).

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Recognizing that recording site and element boundaries would entail a significant amount of work for DoA staff, the process was begun early in the project and ran parallel with development of the new system. Laptops, specially configured for a new data collection and processing system, were installed at DoA offices in Amman and Irbid, and several DoA staff members were trained to begin completing and correcting the existing JADIS data so that it was ready for incorporation into MEGA–Jordan once its development was complete. The Amman and Irbid offices were also used for pilot implementation of the prototype system.

The data collection and processing system developed by Farallon Geographics and installed on the laptops allowed DoA staff to digitize the location and extent of archaeological sites using three different methods: 1) based on aerial images; 2) using the Google Earth™ interface, or 3) importing GPS coordinates collected in the field. PostGIS software, an open source relational database that supports GIS processing natively, was used to validate and store the site information. QuantumGIS (QGIS) software, an open source desktop GIS, allowed DoA staff to enter site information into the database and review existing site and element boundaries.


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Page updated: December 2014


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