Geographic Information Systems and Geodatabases

A growing part of the work at NCC involves not only completing essential archaeological projects, but increasingly assisting clients with managing the archaeological data which accumulates. This is especially true with large, complex site areas which have been managed for decades. As surveys and excavations increase, teams and companies change, and clients evolve their management strategies, the way we traditionally report archaeological data (in reports, with photographs and fieldnotes) does not meet the challenges of a 21st century workplace.

To this end, NCC has developed a geodatabase process which allows project managers, surveyors, and planners to efficiently understand when and where archaeological work has been completed within existing project areas, as well as what was discovered, what the notes and artifacts actually looks like, and where gaps are likely to be present in existing data. When we complete a complex project, we typically give the client a copy not just of our findings, but the raw data as well.

Recently, NCC contracted with the Minnesota Historical Society to produce a geodatabase of arguably one of the most excavated, and hence complex, archaeological sites in Minnesota – Historic Fort Snelling. With any project, this involved painstaking “data mining” of reports, notes, slides, and any data related to previous projects spanning decades of work. Our work has given MNHS another tool in their continued efforts to revitalize this National Register / National Landmark site and we look forward to building additional geodatabases for them in the years to come.