What if land could be surveyed from home, by anyone?
The Placemaker platform unites modern maps, satellite maps, historic maps, Historic Environment Records and LiDar in one place, and gives users all the tools they need to mark areas of interest.
The data is then stored in PostGIS, to be returned to and amended as many times as needed.
Make archaeology accessible
Crowdsourced, crowdfunded archaeology is here to stay. With more people than ever interested in archaeology, a platform anyone can use is crucial.
Placemaker is completely web-based, no-code, and has been extensively user-tested. Harness the power of local knowledge and public interest in archaeology and use it to optimise your operations!
Humap and Digventures
Digventures is a crowdsourced, crowdfunded organisation making archaeology accessible to everyone.
In 2021, they teamed up with Humap to try out our new tool – Placemaker.
Prefer video? Humap co-founder and co-director Ed Jones gave a talk on Placemaker and Digventures at GeoMob. You can find it here (it begins at 5:52).
H.E.R’s (Historic Environment Records) exist for every area of the U.K., but are often unreliable or incomplete. Digventures and ArchAI, funded by a Nesta Collective Intelligence Grant, set out to find out how crowd intelligence and artificial intelligence could work together to identify sites of archaeological interest and improve the reliability of existing H.E.R’s.
Using Placemaker to manually explore layers of map data (LiDAR, satellite, historical etc) and mark places of interest with drawing tools and metadata, the Digventures volunteers created a data set to teach the AI how to identify archaeological sites.
Everything the volunteers made was saved to a central database that could be returned to, saved in geometries in PostGIS for ease of exporting and analysis,
You can find out more about the AI side of the project here.
Why does this matter? In the words of Digventures themselves, this partnership has the potential “to inform spatial planning, de-risking development and landscape transformation whilst embedding local people in the decisions which deeply impact their lives.”
The project clearly demonstrated the interest that the public have in archaeology – 970 applications were received for 100 spots – and the power of crowdsourced archaeological participation.
The results speak for themselves:
2,361 new sites located in the area covered (60% increase in documented archaeology).
Audit of data quality (fidelity, accuracy and completeness) shows that 94% of the data is valid, as opposed to the HER for the same area being 88%.
100 people with limited or no experience in archaeology and GIS produced professionally valid results and earned significant sectoral experience.