As we all know, GIS technology is quickly gaining popularity [examples/references]. Many developments in the area of GIS are going on: new user interfaces and products arise, open source GIS becomes mature, spatial data infrastructures are being set up [examples]. This small-scale study hopefully offers a view on how to deal with the currently rapidly evolving GIS software and standards. What do we need, are they ‘basics’?
The past few years the (commercial) GIS developments changed from an approach, driven by scientific needs, to developments necessary to deal with the internet capabilities, system integration and collaboration on a much wider scale than the well known one-man show on a per-project base. But are these developments of any value for the use of GIS in archaeological research? To answer this question we’ll have a look at the GIS systems that existed 10 years ago, and compare the functionality that they offered to the current systems. It will be interesting to see that not much new functionality has been added to perform spatial analysis in the past 10-15 years. But then, it is interesting to explore the possibilities offered by the new developments, and have a discussion about the usability in the archaeological research domain.