Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Discover archaeological treasures in these satellite images

©DigitalGlobe 2016

When archaeologists want to find lost monuments or hidden cities these days, they turn to satellite imagery. Patterns invisible to the eye on the ground become obvious from the air and help scientists decide where they should start digging. And now you can join those scientists by signing up for GlobalXplorer, a newly launched online community where members look at real satellite imagery from Peru to identify telltale patterns of ancient habitation.

GlobalXplorer is similar to other online citizen science efforts like Galaxy Zoo, where members identify galaxies from deep-field images. When you visit GlobalXplorer, you'll be shown one map tile from a satellite shot of Peru. Each tile is about 200 by 200 meters and is one of roughly 120 million such tiles in the database. After a quick tutorial on the kinds of features to look for, you'll be asked to identify whether the tile contains evidence of looting (in the tutorial, you'll learn that looting holes produce a very distinctive pattern), illegal encroachment by developers, or a possible ancient structure. The more tiles you classify, the more you can level up and gain access to new data and more difficult identification tasks.

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