Archaeologist uses FileMaker, iPad as main tool during digs

When many people think archeology, the first image that pops into their head is Indiana Jones racing the forces of evil to a long lost treasure or solving a mystery of history. However, the real thing involves a lot less drama and action set pieces. The industry is even getting a bit high tech thanks to the iPad and FileMaker.

A recent CITEWorld article profiled Chicago University PhD student and archaeologist Michael Jennings and the tools he used as part of a excavation in Palestine. Traditionally, those in a dig would take side pictures, draw sketches and keep large, heavy binders with them to collect it all. The archaeologists had to lug these stacks of paper around in luggage on global treks that, unfortunately, can get lost. This was the case for a Jordanian archaeologist who had excavated a Jericho site before the records went missing, forcing the team to redo the whole thing.

However, Jennings does not need to worry about that. With a database in place he had created before the trip on the FileMaker platform and the mobile version FileMaker Go, Jennings now can take pictures using the tablet's camera and draw sketches on the screen to detail where objects were found much more easily. That just scratches the surface of the features that FileMaker brings to the table.

With the Web publishing tools of FileMaker Pro, Jennings was able to create a virtual version of the growing database, which could be updated in real-time in the browser and followed by anyone that was granted access. This ensures the information gathered can never be lost in the event that luggage was misplaced.

While most companies will not need to set up a system for an archaeological dig, every business needs a way to examine and collect data about their industry. An IT consultant who understands the power of FileMaker and Mac integration can help any business take advantage of the solution.