New South offers an extensive array of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) services to support its archaeological and architectural history staff in integrating analyses and geographic data. The merger of multiple data sources provides cultural resource professionals with powerful research tools for comprehensive and unified analyses resulting in well-reasoned interpretations of cultural resources for management purposes. Architectural and archaeological projects may employ these services at any phase of work.
A wide selection of geospatial data sets can be employed for the creation of a GIS for research and analysis of cultural resources. Geographically distributed information can be derived from such diverse sources as aerial photographs, remotely sensed digital imagery, and conventional geologic, soil, and topographic maps. Additionally, field data recorded from geophysical and remote sensing equipment, Global Positioning System (GPS) units, and Total Station Mapping, as well as those collected by more traditional survey and excavation methods, can form critical components of the geospatial database.
After such sources are consulted, the creation of various types of GIS modeling is possible. The most frequently applied modeling studies include viewshed analysis, which evaluates the potential visual effects to historic properties, and archaeological predictive modeling, where environmental variables such as proximity to water, aspect, slope, and elevation are evaluated to develop models of prehistoric and historic land use and settlement patterning. Predictive modeling studies can then be used to create archaeological sensitivity maps that designate an area’s potential for containing cultural resources. These types of studies are regularly done by New South Associates, especially for transportation and Environmental Impact Statement projects where evaluation of multiple alternatives is required.