Using Google Earth over GIS Software in Archaeology

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated: has a post about the publication in the Journal of Human Evolution entitled “Google Earth, GIS, and the Great Divide: A new and simple method for sharing paleontological data” that advocates the use of Google Earth over GIS mapping applications for its ease of use in sharing archaeological and paleontological data.  The entry makes the preliminary argument:

GIS systems expedite analyzing and managing large amounts of spatial data, and can really improve mapping locations where artifacts or fossils are found. Unfortunately, the price point and learning curve involved in using GIS applications, like ArchGIS make it an unapproachable technology.

An article in advance in the Journal of Human Evolution introduces how the most basic version of Google Earth can be easily used in lieu of other GIS software to display and share paleontological data.

While the post does briefly review some of the negative issues to using Google Earth data over a standalone GIS, the interest seems to be mostly in the area of simple displays of data and doesn’t open up a debate on the abilities of GIS software to perform spatial analysis as compared to Google Earth. 

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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