Mentres preparaba outra entrada sobre software libre e arqueoloxía decidín coller algo de tempo e presentarvos outro proxecto fantástico: o Lechaion Harbour Project. O mellor dos proxectos que non só son fantásticos senón que tamén adican mito esforzo, e moi necesario, á divulgación pública é que non necesitas traballar moito na túa bitácora. ¿Pra que, se xa nos proporcionan un material incrible e videos e fotos moi informativos? E por iso que só inclúo un breve texto e comentarios sobre os videos que teñen subido na rede. Pero non bos preocupedes, porque ó final desta entrada podedes atopar tódalas ligazóns que coñezo ós seus materiais.
While preparing another entry on freeware and archaeology I decided to take some time off and present you with another awesome research project: the Lechaion Harbour Project. The great thing about projects that are not only fantastic but that also devote a great, and very necessary, effort on public outreach is that you do not need to work a lot for your entry blog. Why should you, if they provide us all with incredible and very informative videos and pictures?! It is for this reason that I will include but a brief text and comments on what to look for on the videos they have uploaded. But no worries, because at the end of this post you could find all the links I know to their resources.
A digital world like ours has many initiatives that perhaps we do not know, but that offer us open-source software for any task we can imagine. From whole operative systems (OS) to little programs for specific tasks, communities of coders work for free on alternatives to firmware software that in some cases can make us wonder why we still pay for programs when we can donate to this initiatives and enjoy great software. My work on GIS and GRASS was of course my first exposure to this technology but my best example would be LibreOffice: I have not used the Office Suit for more than a decade, and I have never encountered a problem on my research or on my publications.
Maps and Software. Creating a Location:
Despite what you might think, the first thing you need to start working with maps is not a computer, a GIS program or some GeoTiffs. The first thing you need is a research question. If you do not have this, the rest is worthless, because your research question is going to condition what kind of analysis you will carry out and how. So, before starting with these lessons I would suggest you to think about your research area and what would you like to know about it. You can be interested on exploring which areas are under the visual control of your site, or the most efficient route between a workshop area and the place where raw material were collected. Every example in these posts can be tried with any map, but if you do not have any specific research area or just want to give GIS a try you can use the maps of the area of Korinth that I will use as an example.
The software I am going to use is GRASS. This is an open source program supported by a community of developers around the world, which include some of the big names in Landscape analysis such as Michael Barton, from Arizona State University. You can download it for free here. Everybody has his/her favourite program, and usually causes intense debates around beers on which is better and why the rest are useless. GRASS is my favourite one for two reasons: first, it is one of the most reliable GIS programs and it is constantly updated by a community of developers. Secondly, it is completely free. Many other programs are very expensive and they do not offer, in my opinion, any analytical advantage over GRASS. It is true that it is perhaps less user-friendly than other programs, but you will see that once you get used to it, GRASS is very straightforward.