If you have ever fancied being like Indiana Jones, now you can do this even from your own home by using the new GlobalXplorer tool to search for archaeological sites online.
The archaeologist and 2016 TED prize winner Sarah Parcak developed GlobalXplorer, as Science Alert report. This new tool uses satellite imagery to allow users a birds-eye view of terrain around Peru and users are able to search for new archaeological sites in this way. Users can analyze a large number of satellite images that are available right now to archaeologists.
Sarah Parcak was able to fund the GlobalXplorer project when she took the $1 million she won from her TED prize and has explained that it is her hope that this new tool will allow its users to contemplate what may be hidden deeply beneath large layers of rocks and dirt.
“We can really change the conversation and create a world where people don’t just care about history, but are a part of retelling it.”
If you visit the GlobalXplorer website, you will learn that the techniques that Sarah Parcak employs has helped to find numerous objects and settlements.
“So far, Dr. Parcak’s techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt, and she’s also made significant discoveries in the Viking world and Roman Empire.”
The goal for GlobalXplorer is one that aims to open up archaeology to citizen explorers by starting a large global network where users can discover things together.
“With additional funding, Dr. Parcak aims to revolutionize how modern archaeology is done altogether, by creating a global network of citizen explorers, opening field schools to guide archaeological preservation on the ground, developing an archaeological institute, and even launching a satellite designed with archaeology in mind.”
It has been reported that GlobalXplorer may appear to be more of a game than a tool at first. You begin using it as a novice explorer and the tutorial you go through shows a perspective of looting from 450 miles above the earth. This device allows you to look at tiles which are actually 3.8 x 3.8 square miles of land and as you continue with GlobalXplorer you will find yourself moving up the ranks.
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You will find with GlobalXplorer that your rank will change from Wanderer to Pathfinder once you have worked your way through 500 tiles. After 1000 tiles, Pathfinders turn into Voyagers and by the time you have worked through 50,000 tiles you will be known as a Space Archaeologist.
You receive rewards for each of the levels that you successfully complete, which include being able to view content on YouTube and early notifications with Reddit AMAs.
Sarah Parcak has explained that she wants to give people a reason to come back to GlobalXplorer and to have incentives to continue with their archaeological journey. She also said that despite so many things happening throughout the world right now, human beings continue to be resilient and thinks this new archaeological tool will also help users to understand that humans are all connected.
“We want people to feel like there’s a reason to come back. We’re all human beings at the end of the day. I think understanding who we are and where we’ve come from, that can connect us in a way that we need right now.”
GlobalXplorer is designed specifically to protect archaeological sites, and they do this by making sure that no images or map tiles are linked to data or coordinates that would allow others to know the site of the location. In fact, all tiles are put into a random catalogue ID.
So in theory, while someone could look at a tile and try to find it somewhere on Google Earth, it would probably take months for them to find the specific tile in this way. If someone were to actually find the exact location, it would take so long that the mapping for that area would already have been completed and a site preservation plan would already be enacted through Peru’s Ministry of Culture.
What do you think of the new GlobalXplorer program and are you going to use it to try to discover new archaeological sites?
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]