Cutting edge archaeology using an iPad

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Discovering Ancient Pompeii with iPad
[Via Apple Hot News]

Archaeologist Steven Ellis and his team are using iPad — with apps like Pages, FMTouch, iDraw, OmniGraffle, and Photos — to capture invaluable historical data in the trenches at Pompeii. Says Ellis, “That my team could both type and draw on the screen, and also examine all previously entered data, made it an ideal single-device solution.”

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Lots of paper records are normally created in an excavation:

Excavators generally make four kinds of paper records in the field: forms (sometimes a hundred per trench) for describing soil layers and features; notebook entries for recording elevations and space; daily scaled drawings of the trench; and a Harris Matrix, an illustration that shows chronological relationships among layers.

He gives a nice estimate of the effect of having access to an iPad:

Ellis, who estimates that iPad has already saved him a year of data entry, plans to increase the number of iPad devices from one to two per trench. “The recovery of invaluable information from our Pompeian excavations is now incalculably faster, wonderfully easier, unimaginably more dynamic, precisely more accurate, and robustly secure,” he says.

You can check out the results at their website.