New App Trains Everyone to Become Archaeologists Right in the Comforts of Home

New App Trains Everyone to Become Archaeologists Right in the Comforts of Home PHOTOGRAPH: Flickr/John Atherton | Under CC BY-SA

Dr. Sarah Parcak, a National Geographic fellow and space archaeologist, launched a unique app called GlobalXplorer on Monday. The app lets everyone be an archaeologist from home. It uses high definition satellite imagery and invites registered members to look for signs of looting in archaeological sites across the world. It also offers an opportunity to anyone who is interested in searching for unknown archaeological digs.

Back in 2016, Parcak won the $1 million TED prize to develop a satellite-based archeology app that lets anyone with internet access transform into a virtual archaeologist overnight. Parcak’s efforts uncovered 17 potential pyramids and 3,100 potential settlements in Egypt. The app promised to discover many other rare archaeological digs in the future with the help of curious commoners.

GlobalXplorer App: Get, Set, Excavate!

After downloading the app, people need to register to get started, DP Review reported. Then registered members are directed towards a training video that teaches them how to analyze satellite images and detect looting. That is all there is to it, after which people of all ages can go hunting for archaeological digs.

The app is designed like a game that rewards people once they level up. It is an attempt to get people, who feed on competition, hooked onto the app. Hence, one cannot dive into searching for rare archaeological sites right away. A participant needs to detect enough looting signs to level up to be able to go excavating.

GlobalXplorer Redefines Modern Archaeology

“GlobalXplorer” aims to bring the wonder of archaeological discovery to all, and to help us better understand our connection to the past,” the official website of GlobalXplorer indicated. It also mentioned that Dr. Parcak aimed to revolutionize the field of modern archeology with the help of people from all over the world. She also planned to open field schools to aid archaeological preservation, an archaeological institute and a satellite that is predominantly focused on archeology.

For now, the app makes use of DigitalGlobe’s commercial satellites courtesy of a customized version of the Tomnod crowd-sourcing platform. Currently, the app is stocked with imagery, which covers 200,000 square kilometers of sites located in Peru. One has to minutely scan the tiles on every square inch of the ground and place red flags on portions that show signs of degradation. The data will then be handed over to government agencies. They can use it to preserve the areas, which have been excessively flagged, NBC News reported.

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