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Department of Geomatics and Digital Archaeology
24 May 2022

The Department of Geomatics and Digital Archaeology was established by the decision of the Academic Council of the Institute dated December 23, 2021 (Protocol No. 9), started working in 2022. Prior to that, the department's employees were part of a group for the study of the Stone Age as part of the "Department of Archaeology of the Stone Age and Paleometal Epoch".

Geomatics, also known as geoinformatics, is indeed a field encompassing science, technology, and production activities related to the scientific validation, design, establishment, operation, and utilization of geographic information systems. It involves the development of geoinformation technologies and the application of GIS for practical and scientific purposes.

The term "geoinformatics" is derived from the term "informatics" — a foreign borrowing denoting a scientific direction that studies the theory, methodology and methods of accumulation, processing and transmission of data, information and knowledge using computers and other technical means, or a group of disciplines dealing with various aspects of the application and development of computing machines, which usually include applied mathematics, programming, software, artificial intelligence, computer architectures and computer networks.

Digital archaeology is the application of information technology and digital media in archaeology. It includes the use of digital photography, 3D reconstruction, virtual reality and geoinformation systems, as well as other methods. Computational archaeology, which encompasses computer-based analytical methods, can be considered as a part of digital archaeology, or as a virtual archaeology.

The use of digital technologies for archaeological research makes it possible to collect data without the intrusion or destruction of archaeological sites and the cultural heritage stored in them, contributing to the preservation of archaeological data. That is how many early archaeological excavations were discovered at depth. The use of this technology has helped to restore historical monuments and artifacts, such as ceramics, human fossils and mummified remains.

Geoinformation systems (GIS), as a hardware-computer system, allow you to collect, process and visualize spatial data. The GIS application in archaeology begins in the 80s of the 20th century. Since then, the popularity of GIS among archaeologists has only increased. Now it is difficult to find projects in leading research centers on archaeology that do not use GIS, especially for complex, interdisciplinary projects.

The main directions of GIS application in archaeology:

- Inventory, systematization of large volumes of spatial data;

- Operational mapping from small areas to entire continents;

- Modeling of historical situations, etc.

The scientific staff of the department have extensive experience in the use of GIS in various scientific and applied projects in the areas of archaeology and historical and cultural heritage. They received special education (cartographic, geographical) in the field of GIS, have international certificates for GIS programs (ESRI), have completed foreign scientific internships.

The department employs specialists who have mastered various methods related to three-dimensional technologies (3D). The most popular method is to create 3D copies of various objects and landscapes by photogrammetry. Such models can be used for various studies, as well as for creating drawings, diagrams and various illustrations. The use of laser scanning systems makes it possible to obtain high-precision digital 3D models of objects.

The employees also have experience in creating three-dimensional reconstructions, various archaeological sites, monuments of different types and different eras. Before starting work on the reconstruction, the performers carefully approach the study of the available data, study analogues, and make many sketches. In the process of creating a three-dimensional model of the reconstructed object, other interdisciplinary specialists, laboratory staff and even criminologists can be involved.

The staff has extensive, versatile field experience of shooting the excavation plans and topography of the area. For years, various methods of documenting monuments were collected and tested before and at the time of excavation:

1. Creation of geodetic polygons;

2. Topography survey (with different grid size);

3. Plan high-altitude survey (horizontal and vertical objects);

4. Architectural sections;

5. Setting out.

The processing of the survey results, as well as the preparation of drawings, maps for printing, is carried out both in the environment of the computer-aided design (CAD) and in GIS, which allows you to combine work with orthographic plans and digital terrain models obtained during aerial photography using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This approach gives not only accuracy and informativeness, but also improves the quality of drawings, maps, plans and diagrams.

Mainly works with total stations of different models of the Leica and Nikon brands. Geodesic class satellite receivers from Leica

Equipment and computer programs:

GIS program ArcGISDesktop 10.0

GNSS Receivers Leica GS 18 Base/Rover

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Quadrocopters

Electronic total stations Leica-407TCR

Department employees:

1. Asylbekov Kalibek - Head of the Department

2. Antonov Mikhail

3. Kazizova Aisha

4. Kiyasbek Galymzhan

The purpose of the Department is to carry out scientific and applied activities, strengthen the connection of science, education and production in the field of digital archaeology and geomatics within the framework of republican, regional, sectoral and international programs and projects.

The tasks of the Department are:

- development and implementation of plans for the main areas of research in the field of digital archaeology;

- fundamental and applied research within the framework of the implementation of program-targeted, grant and other (international, regional) projects;

- application and development of geoinformation databases and database management systems for archaeological sites;

- geoinformation mapping, spatial-attributive analysis and modeling of archaeological objects;

- application of remote sensing data for mapping, exploration, identification, monitoring, study and analysis of the archaeological landscape;

- 3D scanning, photogrammetric survey, modeling and documentation of archaeological finds and objects in field and office conditions;

- aerial phototopographic and tacheometric survey in order to create large-scale topographic plans and maps of cultural landscapes;

- application and development of non-invasive methods in the study of archaeological sites (geophysical, geomagnetic, etc.);

- creation of 3D reconstruction and virtualization of archaeological sites;

- development and implementation of software and algorithms in the field of digital archaeology;

- digitization of text and raster data, cataloging of archival materials;

- conducting advanced training courses in digital archaeology and documentation;

- publication of scientific, popular scientific works on the problems of geomatics and digital archaeology;

- organization and holding of scientific conferences, seminars;

- training of young specialists in the field of new methods of documentation and visualization of archaeological objects.

Projects within the framework of program-targeted financing, in which the department's employees have participated over the past 5 years:

PTF 2022-2023 "Cultural genesis in the Kazakh steppes: new paradigms of problems of studying the continuity of material and spiritual heritage according to archaeological sources". Headed by A. Onggar.