Spotlight on Tech Services

Spotlight on Tech Services

Headland Archaeology has been developing their Technical Services team in the last few years and have developed a whole suite of services that are now at the field teams fingertips. Every member of the field team has access to their own company iPad where they can utilise these services.

The two primary resources are our Paperless Recording System, HARK!, and the Trench Tracker Application.

HARK! has been in development since 2017 and we are proud to announce that this system will be rolled out to all sites over the course of 2023. HARK! reduces the need for data entry, standardises context entry onsite, creates an immediate digital version of the data ready for review and doesn’t require internet signal to work onsite. We also now have a server backup system, a new interface and data entry form, ability to group features onsite, built in training materials that was developed along with the Learning and Development team and a remote assignment and backup/deletion tool. Within this system we also have rigorous intervals for quality checks and sign off points and the ability to export PDF reports for the client immediately.

Secondly, we have customised an open-source survey app to provide a real-time trench tracker management application which overlies a surveyed base map that is updated daily. The Trench Tracker provides information for all users on site, from providing a tool for quality assurance tracking for excavated features in the field, to a visualisation tool showing the status of an individual trench.

The most important benefit is that by having up-to-date progress information, we can confidently request payment for completed work, which is normally on a progress-per-trench basis, and provide the evidence needed quickly and easily. We are also able to organise curatorial sign-off of trenches more efficiently, which is typically a significant bottleneck to progress and payment.

The Trench Tracker has also reduced the internal effort needed to manage and coordinate large, complex trial trenching projects, which are a staple of our workload. Managers can easily track and report on progress and trenching teams can clearly see what has been done and what they have still to do without returning to a central compound to update their records. This information is updated across all teams at least daily and is available on any mobile device. The workflow can be managed from the office with minimal additional training as it is based on existing GIS procedures and is easily adapted to fit the needs of individual projects.

We are busy rolling out our company-wide in-house training for these resources and are excited to integrate this into our daily practice!