Historic England

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Workshop, November 17th 2005

A successful workshop looking in depth at 'Big Data' issues took place in November. The meeting was hosted within the King's Manor in York. The workshop was chaired by Julian Richards, Director of the ADS. A series of presentations were made to participants interspersed with lively debate. Keith May spoke first on why English Heritage (EH) had commissioned the 'Big Data' project.

The speakers that followed have experience of 'Big Data' with organizations outside of archaeology. Mark Dunkley talked on EH involvement with other government organisations such as the UK Hydrology Office (UKHO) in terms of data sharing and archiving of 'Big Data'. David Barber then described the EH funded ''Heritage 3D'' project which has synergies with the 'Big Data' project but concentrated mainly on the survey specification for carrying out laser scanning rather than how to archive the data. Jerry Giles gave a very interesting overview of one of the National Environment Research Council (NERC) data centres where he is manager.

After lunch speakers described the three case studies being used by the 'Big Data' project to help formulate management and preservation strategies. John Gribble of Wessex Archaeology described the ''Wrecks on the Seabed'' project and hence the problems associated with the large datasets generated by underwater techniques such as detailed magnetometry, sub-bottom and multibeam bathymetry survey. Michael Rainsbury from Durham University talked about the ''Breaking through rock art recording: three-dimensional laser scanning of megalithic rock art'' project which scanned examples of rock art in Northumberland. Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham introduced us to the ''Where Rivers Meet'' which used lidar survey data as a base for the project. The survey data was supplied by an external organization which raised interesting questions about copyright. Vince also briefly described the 'North Sea Seismic' project which is using very large base datasets (terabytes) again supplied externally.

The final session was presented by Big Data project staff, Tony Austin and Jen Mitcham who described progress so far including an initial analysis of an ongoing online questionnaire (this is no longer available, but the results are) about big data users and usage and an overview of data audits undertaken on the case studies. A possible preservation and dissemination strategy for the rock art case study was also demonstrated.

  • Agenda
  • Participants
  • Powerpoints
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