(Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Esslingen, Germany)
Keywords: Paradigm Shift, GIS, Survey, Topological Integrity, Open Source
Until the mid 1990s excavations were recorded by pencil on millimeter paper. After that the pencil was replaced by the totalstation, paper by the computer and CAD. This development was, metally, simply a 1:1 digitalisation of the analogue process. Visual recording and the collection of descriptive information remained separate processes.
The real paradigm shift didn’t happen until a decade and a half later. There were a number of reasons. Fundamental though was the increasing realisation that geographic information systems offer more appropriate tools for excavation recording that CAD. On excavations we uncover contexts, features, finds and so on. They posess not only geometric form but also substance, structure, color and matter etc. GIS is better able to handle this combined geometric/factual information than CAD.
In taking this step the State Heritage Department decided to develop its own software to handle field data and, together with vigerous FOSS partners, make the software freely available in order to 1) avoid the constraints, restrictions and not least the costs of proprietary software and importantly, 2) to promote “research driven development”. It was possible to call upon much internal and external experience – both practical and theoretical – to conceive and produce bespoke software which adapts to the work in hand rather than the other way round.
The result is “Survey2GIS”, a light-weight tool for processing surveying data into any GIS system, both as a plugin for gvSIG-CE and standalone. The process is fully steerable, allowing flexible adaptation to individual survey workflows and data structures. During the development, high priority has been given to Survey2GIS’ ability to generate topologically correct and fully attributed output. Survey2GIS can be used as a GUI or as poweful, iterative, command-line application to produce fully structured geodata from any field data for any project. Survey2GIS has now reached the mature version 1.5.*
Relevance conference: The thought processes of a large State department in taking the step from CAD to GIS are revealed and it is shown how FOSS can help this process and result in a powerful, user friendly tool.
Relevance session: The thought processes of a large State department in taking the step from CAD to GIS are revealed and it is shown how FOSS can help this process and result in a powerful, user friendly tool.
Innovation: Survey2GISis now well developed and the ony widely distributed fully functional, completely free tool of its type – it must be of interest for international colleagues.