Hismo supports archaeological workers in documenting on the excavation. Smart measurement nails allow findings to be recorded more quickly and data to be transferred. A common database makes it easier for other authorized instances to access the data. In order to better inform the public about the excavations, data is made available on the open.hismo platform.
Archaeological excavations occur more often than one might think. In the case of a building project, an examination of the necessity of a so-called rescue excavation is carried out by the State Office for Monument Preservation. Here it is checked whether possible archaeological finds, i.e. monuments could be hidden under the ground. These can be of cultural value and provide information about the history of a place, building or the way of life of the people at that time. In case of a necessary excavation, an excavation company must be commissioned by the investor.
All finds and building remains must be carefully documented and measured. These are possibly destroyed with the excavation and the monument is thus lost forever. As soon as the finds are torn out of their context and the exact state of discovery, important information is lost without complete documentation. Scientific research can no longer be carried out accurately.
Various parties are involved in this complex excavation process and are in constant exchange. Currently, PDFs are still often used and the extra digitised files are then passed on between the parties via USB, SD card and hard drive. The „hismo“ application is now being used for this purpose, enabling joint work by excavation companies, the State Office for Monument Preservation and all other relevant institutions.
Instead of the previously used PDFs or paper documents, employees at the excavation now use the application primarily on the tablet to document findings directly on site and load them into a database. In addition, hismo can be used for post-processing, corrections or writing reports on the com- puter as a web application.
The advantage is that the tablet is directly linked to the web application, as both systems use the same database. This means that not only archaeologists on the excavation can work with hismo. All related institutions such as the Find processing department of the excavation commpany or the State Office for Monument Preservation also have the possibility to quickly view the data. This reduces the problem of data being lost or mistakes being made during exchange. They also no longer need to be passed on via hardware, which is time-consuming.
For better communication with the public, hismo is supplemented by the web application „open.hismo“. This is a website on which interested parties, researchers and museums can explore all the excavation information released by the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments.
To further speed up the process and keep it cost-effective, hismo is compatible with a smart attachment for marking nails. This can receive D-GPS data (very precise GPS data). The data is used on the tablet application to locate and measure findings.
The advantage is that the tablet is directly linked to the web application, as both systems use the same database. This means that not only archaeologists on the excavation can work with hismo. All related institutions such as the Find processing department of the excavation commpany or the State Office for Monument Preservation also have the possibility to quickly view the data. This reduces the problem of data being lost or mistakes being made during exchange. They also no longer need to be passed on via hardware.
The three of us worked together on the concept for the hismo product world and how the individual products work together. We divided the design of the three UIs among us. My design focus was on open.hismo as a complex information platform with different user accesses and therefore varying interfaces.
The challenge for open.hismo was to design a uniform platform for different users and also different use cases and needs. The content of the platform is obtained from the documentation of the excavations, from the hismo application and released by the respective state office for the preservation of historical monuments. Through the different user accesses, the researcher mode, the explorer mode and the museum mode, different amounts of information are presented. Critical information, for example, cannot be viewed by the public (in the explorer mode).
The administration of the documentations is officially handled by the individual State Offices for the Preservation of Monuments in each federal state. The archaeological finds and monuments also belong to the individual federal states in which they were found. For this reason, the visual design of open.hismo, as a public and external communication platform, is based on the colors of the state of Baden-Württemberg.
During the research for the thesis we tried to visit as many instances involved in the excavation process as possible and to get to know the tasks of the stakeholders. For this purpose, we not only visited two different excavations, but also completed a two-day excavation internship. Furthermore, we visited the finds processing department and the data processing department of an excavation company, as well as different departments of the State Office for Monument Preservation Baden-Württemberg.
In our own workspace at the university, we gathered our findings and recorded everything on a large scale during the process using Post-Its.
During the process, we were in contact with individual employees of the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Baden-Württemberg, but the project is not an official cooperation. The images used within the screens of the user interface are partly our own images, partly images of the excavation company Fodilus and the excavation company ArchaeoBW, which we were allowed to use with the permission of the State Office for Monument Preservation in the Regional Council of Stuttgart. The further use of the pictures without permission is not allowed. The excavations, finds and details shown in the designed screens are fictional.