Guidelines for Recording Handheld GPS Waypoints
These guidelines have taken into account the Archaeology Data Service's GIS Guide to Good Practice http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/goodguides/g2gp.html, which promotes standard methodologies for collecting archaeological data, and the Dublin Core metadata standards.
Goals of this project:GPS is a global navigation system formed by 24 satellites and their ground stations. A GPS receiver uses these satellites as reference points to calculate positions accurate to a matter of meters.
GPS allows us to determine a basic position of a feature or site. We can store these positions as waypoints within the GPS receiver and then use waypoints to plot these positions on digital maps or in GIS databases. Waypoint files are also useful because a GPS receiver can calculate distance, and direction to and between various waypoints/locations. We can also store routes (a series of waypoints) which can be used for navigation purposes, and can even be used to plot a trail, path, or road.
To date there are few repositories of geographic coordinates available to a wide audience that deal specifically with the ancient world, although there are an increasing number of individual classroom and research projects that make use of such geographic data. Since an increasing number of students and teachers, are traveling to the Mediterranean region with GPS receivers for their own study and research purposes, the Perseus Project and the Stoa Consortium have developed these guidelines to promote a standard methodology for recording and submitting data from these various projects. These standards would allow students, scholars, researchers or anyone working in the field to contribute to a growing permanent repository of geographic information that can be accessed and used by the widest possible audience.
The Repository of Ancient Geographic Entities (RAGE) will serve as a central organizational tool for geographic data recorded by various online projects and databases. Five activities will be available to RAGE users. Users will be able to: look up a project, look up a place name (to find matches or linked entities from any project), look up a single toponym (to find a single toponym which may include multiple names for that toponym in different projects), propose links between two names (submit that x and y refer to the same entity), and propose a link between a name and an entitiy (submit that x is a name for a particular entity already in RAGE).
For example, data stored in the repository could be accessed by and linked to a wide variety of schools, research projects, and digital libraries. Students, historians, or archaeologists, could download repository data to create their own maps and study projects, or load data into their GPS units to take into the field.
The following guidelines outline basic equipment needs and the recording and submission of GPS data. For more information about submitting geographic data to the Perseus Digital Library, or about registering your project with RAGE at the Stoa please contact Ross Scaife (firstname.lastname@example.org), Neel Smith (email@example.com) or Robert Chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Getting Started: GPS basics
Some basic GPS equipment issues
What's the difference between a hand-held GPS and a GPS survey system?
Why are most GPS units only accurate to 100 meters? Will my data be
The SA error is acceptable for the majority of GPS applications, including navigation and plotting site and feature locations on maps. We are not working at a scale which would require highly accurate plots.
SA is scheduled to be discontinued within the next 4 - 10 years, which should improve GPS user's acuracy to about 25 meters or better
Differential GPS (DGPS) DGPS corrects SA inaccuracies in the GPS system and allows us to position locations, features, etc. on a very precise scale. DGPS allows the GPS receiver to receive corrections from a reference station at a known position. Most new GPS receivers are DGPS ready, that is, they can be hooked up to a DGPS unit.
Real-time Differential GPS corrections are transmitted over radio link from radio beacons (reference stations). These can be difficult to come by overseas, but there are a number of private DGPS services that transmit real-time corrections in the Mediterreanean region.
Things you will need in the field:
A nice freeware package for downloading GPS data for Garmin receivers is Waypoint+ (Windows 95/98/NT)
Recording Geographic Coordinates:
How do I take useful waypoints in the field?The actual process of creating a waypoint for a position will vary depending on the type of GPS receiver you are using. The following are general guidelines and tips for creating a useful waypoint with any GPS receiver.
What additional data should I record about my waypoints?To register your project and data in RAGE we ask that you submit a record of Project and data information. These records should be submitted as separate ASCII files.
The data repository is essentially a database made up of the records that you submit. Remember, people who see or use your data may know nothing about the site or object you have recorded. The record you submit with your data, based on the internationally recognized Dublin Core model, helps describe your data in a standard way to potential users.
By including a Project and data record, you are ensuring that your data will plug in easily with the Digital Library database and conform to international standards of data collection and description.
Where to Submit
I have waypoints, how do I submit them?If you wish to participate in the GPS geographic coordinate database or the RAGE database, please contact Rob Chavez or Ross Scaife
Questions and suggestions can be sent to: