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GIS Guide to Good Practice
Section 5: Documenting your GIS Data set

5.5 Ancillary documentation: what to supply and why

Possibly the single most important piece of information you can provide above and beyond the Dublin Core catalogue entries discussed above is an idea of your data model.

This model enables potential users to discover relatively quickly what sorts of information your GIS will probably hold, and allows them to work out how the whole thing is tied together.

For a typical archaeological GIS, the information that might usefully be represented in a data model submitted to ADS includes:

  • a list of field names (and definitions) for your database
    • e.g. Address: The postal address of the archaeological intervention being described.
  • a diagram depicting the relationships between database tables (similar to Figure 3), if relevant
  • a list of map/coverage/'layer' names (and definitions)
    • e.g. modernyork: The modern streetplan for the study area, extracted from Ordnance Survey 1:1,250 scale digital mapping.

Other than the data model itself, much of the information this section advocates for entry into your project log book can usefully be passed on to the ADS in digital form (see Section 6), as it is equally useful to others trying to make use of your data as it was to you.


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Archaeology Data Service
© Mark Gillings, Peter Halls, Gary Lock, Paul Miller, Greg Phillips, Nick Ryan, David Wheatley, and Alicia Wise 1998

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