Discovering ancient Pompeii with iPad.

[General view and Vesuvius, Pompeii, Italy] (LOC)
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

?It was the ability to enter so many disparate kinds of information, recording everything from architectural elements to fish scales and bones to the actual sequences of events. 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.?

Forms and Functions

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.

With iPad, Wallrodt was able to re-create each of those functions using ?off-the-shelf? apps from the App Store. FMTouch replaced paper forms by allowing researchers to make direct entries into their database forms on iPad. The Pages app supplanted paper notebooks, enabling them to not only enter notations on the iPad keyboard but also import drawings and photos. Scaled drawings were made directly on iPad in iDraw. And OmniGraffle handled the intricate matrix illustrations.

?iPad replaced all of these functions and added many others,? says Wallrodt. ?In this way, all of our piles of paper were replaced with a single 1.5-pound device.?

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