Open Source Computing and GIS in the UK

Travels in a digital world


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Welcome to Archaeogeek

Archaeogeek is about one person’s experiences using modern computing technologies in archaeology, in the UK. My name is Jo Cook, and I am the Information Systems Coordinator at the northern office of Oxford Archaeology, based in Lancaster. My job is pretty varied. It involves sysadmin duties, GIS, databases, and anything else that’s thrown at me. My real passion is building web-based interfaces to maps and data, but more generally I simply want to improve the digital tools and processes that my colleagues have available for doing archaeology.

The problem is that archaeology should be one of those disciplines that embraces digital technologies, GIS and the web, but it isn’t, yet. Furthermore, given the nature of what we do, we should be much better at open standards and data preservation, but we’re still working on that as well. Finally, we should investigate the ways in which modern technology can make our workflow more efficient, both in terms of time and money.

At Oxford Archaeology we’re investing a lot of time into improving this situation, and in the process I am learning about a lot of new things (new to me anyway). Some of these are new technologies, and some are simply new ways of doing things. So, as well as documenting the company’s progress into a new, more open and standardised era, I hope to document my own learning process, and in particular flag up those things that really inspire me.

I’ve amassed a fair collection of useful links and documentation over the last few years as well. Some of this at least might be useful to other Archaeo-Geomatician/Sysadmin types, so hopefully over the next few months I’ll start including it on this site.

If I had to sum myself up in one sentence, I think Howies said it best: Half Geek, Half Luddite. To expand, I love technology, but I’m not an early adopter. I like to watch and see how things pan out before spending my money. Radically,Â� I’m quite happy having all of my portable gadgets separately, that way if my phone gets nicked I don’t lose my camera or my pda, and if I want to change the operating system on my pda I can still use my phone…

Outside of the tech, I live with my husband of ooh, about six weeks (circa September 2006), who’s a web-designer. I’m passionate about environmental and ethical living, and have been since way before Al Gore got everyone enthusiastic about it. I enjoy being out in the countryside a lot more than in the city, and wouldn’t move back down South (I was born in Kent) unless you paid me an awful lot of money. Sports I enjoy currently include Kayaking, Scuba-Diving (since I was 14) and fell-running (well, fell-staggering anyway).