Fascinating technology

Autonomous Vehicle Technology Enables Non-Intrusive Exploration of West Pacific Island

Griffith University researchers are using the same technology that helps control automated vehicles and is used in radar to find ancient sites in the Mariana Islands.

Published in the Journal of Computer Application in Archaeology, the article explores the use of lidar on the island of Guåhan (Guam) in the western Pacific to map sites that may not have been previously discovered.

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a non-invasive remote sensing technique that works by sending out laser pulses and calculating the return time from surface reflections.

Dr Andrea Jalandoni.

Dr Andrea Jalandoni, a digital archaeologist at Griffith University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, said the research was being used to show what known archaeological sites look like on lidar so that more archaeological sites can be found.

“Several sites date to the Latte, Spanish and Modern periods and we are finding that lidar is a very effective way to see and map sites that are obscured and may not be visible due to vegetation,” Dr Jalandoni said. .

“The benefits of using this technology are significant for the community of Guåhan as it provides a non-invasive means of investigating sites and assisting in the management of their cultural heritage.”

Dr Jalandoni’s work was done in partnership with other archaeologists and mapmakers from Guåhan.

“This pilot study using lidar has opened my eyes to new historic sites and landscapes that I have worked in but never imagined had such untapped potential,” said Dr Boyd. Dixon, one of the project archaeologists.

Dr. Andrea Jalandoni provides a ladder at House of Taga Latte near Lake Fena

Indigenous archaeologist and mapmaker Victor H. Torres said the work is an interesting look at how modern technology like lidar can help discover and understand the past.

“In our project, we have shown an application of lidar data for Guåhan, but there are many other uses, such as sea level rise modeling or construction monitoring,” said specialist Maria Kottermair. cartography.

“We’ve only scratched the surface and there’s a lot more to this technology.”

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