FAQ

What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system of computer software, hardware, data, and personnel used to help manipulate, analyze and present information that is linked to spatial location.

How can I obtain data from the GIS Center?

The GIS Center always welcomes data exchange with other institutes, missions and organizations, mainly through protocols signed with the department’s general director.

Post-graduate students and researchers are also welcome through agreements with the GIS Center based on appropriate letters signed by their university/institute.

For all forms of data exchange, copyrights and data distribution restrictions must be respected.

What are the data formats available for data exchange? (GIS, Database and Archaeology Units)

GIS data is exchanged in several formats, as agreed upon with other parties; most common formats are Shapefiles, tiffs and grids.

Attribute data is exported from the database in the following formats: .rpt, .xls, .doc, .rtf, .pdf .

Which softwares are used in the GIS Center? (GIS, DB and IT)

GIS uses ESRI ArcView 9.3 and Spatial Analyst extension is used for some data manipulations and Adobe Photoshop for image enhancements.
The database is currently SQL server 2000 and VB.net 2003 and both are to be upgraded to 2008.
All the GIS Center work stations run on a Windows XP platform.

How is the quality of the database output data guaranteed?

Standardized metadata are used in both data collection and database design; through the analysis of the data, standards for each item are set. The data produced is revised by Senior Archaeological experts from the GIS Center and SCA. There are fixed periodic quality checks of data in the archaeological database and procedures of quality control are continuously updated.

Why are there so many archaeological remains left in Egypt?

The chance of preservation is different than from many other countries. First, the dry desert climate means that many things will be preserved here that would not survive in wetter conditions. These include papyrus, organic remains (textiles, wood and so on) and of course human bodies. Second, many of the famous monuments and cemeteries are built on the desert fringe away from the cultivated areas. However, while it is true that there is a wealth of archaeological remains preserved, the most well known remains are all religious and funerary temples and tombs. Comparatively, there is little information on settlements and urban patterns, although this bias has started to change with more recent excavations. What we consider 'Ancient Egypt' actually lasted for almost 3000 years a lot of buildings, talls and broken pottery will accumulate in this time!

Who is responsible for the preservation of Egypt's monuments?

The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) is part of the Ministry of Culture and is the government institution responsible for the excavation, recording and preservation of sites and monuments. The SCA is divided into three main sectors: the Ancient Egyptian sector, the Coptic, Jewish and Islamic sector, and finally the Museum sector. The main offices are located in Cairo with local branches (taftish) in each governorate. The SCA was previously known as the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (EAO).  

How is archaeological data collected?

Archaeological data is mainly collected through the GIS Center reference library, research in the international libraries in Cairo, and by retrieving official SCA reports from the central archives. This information is then checked and verified during the site visits. 

If I provide the GIS Center with data, how is my copyright respected?

All data incorporated in the GIS Center including archaeological information, maps and GPS points - is acknowledged by name and date of contribution.

Is the GIS Center database only concerned with the sites owned by the SCA?

The GIS Center database includes all SCA sites (property of the SCA, under SCA supervision, under registration process or under registration request), ceded sites (sites that were SCA sites and found to have no archaeological significance) as well as unregistered sites (sites that are unknown to SCA but were identified by the archaeologists during their research) .

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