Cataloging Archaeological Sites, A MEGA Project

I just ran across this interesting post from a few weeks ago.  It seems that an alphabet soup of non-profit companies, The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), World Monuments Fund (WMF), and Jordan Department of Antiquities (DoA) are developing a geographic information system to manage archaeological sites in Jordan.

The Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities (MEGA) – Jordan will be a Web-based, bilingual (Arabic-English) system that will be used by inspectors, archaeologists, scholars, and government planners involved in cultural heritage management and research.

To this end, the planners have embraced open source:

“…Software needs to be open source or low cost, because in Jordan a traditional GIS desktop license costs many times more than the annual salary of a highly trained technical employee.”

And not just any open source GIS, too:

The open source software technologies will include PostGIS and GeoServer along with a public mapping front-end such as Google Maps.

Not only that, it looks like that MEGA-Jordan is a prototype system set to be eventually deployed to other areas, such as Iraq.  In a part of the world with a rich cultural history and a surfeit of archeological sites, this is information well worth cataloging.

This is a great use of GeoServer in the wild, and I will be following its development closely.  Launch date is tentatively set for fall of 2009.

Read the full press release here.


  1. Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    If you´re looking for Geoserver already deployed as part of an archaeological sites information system take a look at

    The application is open to the public, but some sensitive data and some functions (e.g. data download and data upload) are for registerd users only, typically physical planners and researchers. Due to the large amount of archaeological sites, c. 800 000, sites don´t become visible on the map until you reach 1:25000 scale.

  2. Posted September 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Just a follow-up to David’s comment. The site mentioned is run by teh Swedish National Heritage Board, which has just moved its server hall (and half the personnel) to Gotland, so the site is currently unavailable. The technicians are hard at work at getting everything up and running though.

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