APPLIED FIELD GEOPHYSICS WORKSHOP

INTENSIVE GROUND PENETRATING RADAR (GPR) SURVEY AND ANALYSIS

2016 Workshop Evaluation

GPR Workshop – Evaluation/Review 1

 

5/5 Stars for usefulness

4/5 Stars for good use of time

5/5 Stars for information contained

5/5 Stars for organization

4/5 Stars for Labs

5/5 Stars for Lectures

5/5 Stars for Field Work

 

1.      General Organization

The workshop was an intensive but fully worthwhile week.  I enjoyed the mix of lecture and application, as well as data processing. The setup of having the Roman Settlement Excavation in the same place worked very well since it allowed a larger group of people to exist without isolating the workshop people, even though it sometimes seemed like workshop people were disappointed that they only got to spend one week with those fun settlement people.  The system seemed to work very well!

The workshop itself was also just what it was advertised to be (even though I haven’t gotten to interview and prove it yet).  I am really glad to have gotten a conceptual overview of Geophysical methods in archaeology and where GPR fits among those methods.  There was a really good overview summary the first day, which explained what we were going to look at, where it comes from, why it is useful to know about, and where we can look for more information.  Personally, I like to have references so I can go find the papers or whatever is being referenced so that could be added in addition to the book resources.

 

2.      Lectures

The lectures were organized quite well and the teaching style was effective.  I especially liked the small group setting. One comment is that it required a few days for me to figure out how the different Ekko modules fit together and which ones had which features.  This is most likely learned easiest in application, but it might be nice to see a little more cohesively what the differences between Ekko Project and Ekko Mapper are and how Line View and Slice View fit in.  Maybe this confusion is my own fault, having tuned out of one of the videos since it seemed identical to the other Ekko video (in terms of startup and how the software operates). 

 

3.      Field Work

The field work was great.  It was really interesting to see how a grid actually works in practice, beyond just the physical side of how to collect the data into the more important side of what that data is like.  It seemed almost like only taking traces in one direction (y) wouldn’t be useful (just the y direction), but it turned out to yield a lot of information! This is very useful experience for real applications.  Collecting data on a small portion of the entire Villa site was an interesting feature since it allowed us to see how areas were selected to be surveyed, what their relationship to each other was, and how that shows up in the data and is translated into future excavations.

 

4.      Labs

The labs were very good, especially working on the different software packages a few different times (first just to see how they work and then twice with data we collected) was an effective approach.  I  liked working with Gina on the software, though, since together we saw different aspects of the data/features and remembered different interpretation and processing features of the software.  It might be worth the risk of one person doing all the work to get this enhanced collaboration in the data processing end. Different people remember different things and see things differently.

 

GPR Workshop - Evaluation/Review 2

 

One word can describe my experience at the Geophysics workshop, intense. There was never a day where I was not learning something new, nor was there a time where I felt like I was not having a good experience. While the course was geared towards the archaeologist’s experience and how the equipment could/would benefit an archaeologist in the field, as a geology major I feel that I learned more coming at it from that angle than I would have if I had been introduced to the GPR equipment from a geologist perspective. The course was challenging as far as the amount of material covered in such a short period, it was presented in an incredibly user friendly way, and being able to use the equipment made it easier to understand. I was able to walk away with a full understanding of the equipment and how to use it in the field, along with the newly acquired respect for sunscreen and new friends who shared a unique passion for field work and history that I do. The experience as a whole was wonderful, and I would definitely repeat the program if I ever got the chance in the future because I feel like there is more to learn about the GPR equipment and there will be some modifications in the future, however minor, that will change the way the machine works.

The only thing I would change about the program would be the time spent out surveying the fields. While I understand that learning about the equipment is vital, I wish there had been more time that we could have spent running the Noggin and perfecting different techniques. Though, I also understand the time constraints we were under and the material needed to be lectured on. I wish I had had more time to work on technique running the machine through the difficult terrain that way in the future if there is ever a time where I need to use a GPR machine in the field under uneven terrain or high vegetation my data doesn’t come out skewed and unusable.

 

GPR Workshop – Evaluation/Review 3

 

Overall-

I have never taken a “class” anything like this one and I really enjoyed it. Because this class is so hands on and almost 1-on-1 in nature, I was able to learn more about GPR than I had ever hoped to learn over the span of just these five days.

Lectures/PowerPoints-

The lectures were very informational but it may be helpful to take breaks a little more frequently even if they are for less time because of how long the lectures are and it is difficult to retain as much of what is heard over such a long lecture. I wouldn’t change any of the content of the lectures.

As far as PowerPoints are concerned, I think they are nice to have projected but when there are only two students I think that teaching off of the laptop is just as effective. I also really enjoyed your lectures that didn’t have PowerPoints and were more conversational but I also think that some of content needed a PowerPoints’ visuals to be fully understood.

Videos-

Most the videos were good but the one that went over the basics of how to open the program and the such could possibly be skipped. I don’t know if it is possible this year but maybe in the future the videos could be provided to the students to watch in their own time like the articles that were emailed out a few weeks before the program.  I think it would be helpful because then the student could stop and start the videos and rewind when something is unclear. But for some of the later videos it may be difficult to understand them without enough context from the lectures about GPR

Fieldwork-

I thought this part was relatively straightforward compared with the conceptual and software training but also provided a great deal of experience especially with the weather conditions we had. It was useful to see how a grid in the field and how to use the hardware in a practical sense.

Drone/Aerial photography-

I loved this part and I think that it is a very useful skill to be taught that can be added to a CV.

Software training-

I thought this was going most challenging part of learning GPR because I don’t have a strong background in computer skills. I was right that it was the most challenging part but I think it was also the most rewarding part, I feel confident in my ability to use these programs at a base level and that I know how I can improve my skills.

Highlights/Changes that could be made-

I think it was on Thursday that you asked a set of review questions to me and Courtney and he had to work for a while to get the right answer. I think this was a great way to reinforce the concepts in our minds and if you did this more often though out the week it may help future students.

I think it would be helpful to take the GPR out the first day after the first lecture/s and look for pipes. I think it would give more initial context for the lectures and videos that follow. But that is also very weather dependent.

Before the last talk we all had at the end of the last day, I was hoping we could talk more about the different active systems used for geophysical analysis, but I think you covered it well in the first lectures and on the last day.

 

GPR Workshop – Evaluation/Review 4

 

Day 1

  • Topics Covered
    • Use of UAVs (drones) in the field

    • Discussion on articles

    • Introduction to software

    • The physics behind GPR

    • History of GPR

    • What is GPR

  • Field Work

    • Flying UAV (drone)

 

Day 2

  • Topics Covered
    • Introduction on how to use GPR in the field

    • More in-depth discussion in theory

    • More in-depth discussion on software

  • Field Work

    • GPR equipment set-up
    • GPR field introduction (locating pipes in the backyard)

 

Day 3

  • Topics Covered
    • More on software (EKKO and GPR Slice)

  • Field Work

    • Hands on with software—exploration with grids from earlier seasons with both EKKO and GPR Slice
    • GPR “locate and mark” in the field
    • UAV use

 

Day 4

  • Topics Covered
    • GPR Slice - continued

  • Field Work

    • GPR “scan grid” in the field (20m x 30m)
    • Hands on with software—Identify features from field scans with both EKKO and GPR Slice

 

Day 5

  • Topics Covered
    • Cost of acquiring GPR units/software and comparisons with other survey techniques/equipment

    • Review of proficiencies learned and what employers will look for

    • Wrap-up and summery of topics covered, locations scanned, and what was found in field scans

  • Field Work

    • GPR “scan grid” in the field (5.5m x 50m)
    • Hands on with software—Identify features from field scans with both EKKO and GPR Slice

 

Thoughts

 

I really enjoyed this past week. A lot of material was covered in a very short amount of time. I didn’t realize the full scope of everything I had learned until the wrap-up on the last day. Having the PowerPoints helped, especially with having the pictures. I also really liked having so much time in the field (even though some of it was cut-out or interrupted by the rain). I think I learned as much or more from the field work (including the rain, different grid sizes, and the software) than I did from lectures alone. The structure of the week I think was good: lectures to begin with, and then a good mix of field and lecture time for the rest of the week. Playing with the software was also a good experience—being able to play with the results to come up with images and not just learning the unit alone.

The only thing I might suggest is a PowerPoint or document of what we covered the last day: a summary of content covered and proficiencies gained; what employers look for; the different survey equipment and corresponding software(s); the companies that produce it and their customer support; cost; and what to look for when acquiring a GPR unit.

Overall, this was a great experience, and I’m glad that I was able to have it. I learned a lot and had fun while I was doing it.

 

GPR Workshop - Evaluation/Review 5

 

The ArchaeoTek Geophysics Workshop provided a sudden and intense introduction to the science, theory, and ultimate application of GPR technology within an archaeological context. The workshop consisted of 5 complete days of instruction, with a majority of the workshop period based on lectured instruction, supplemented with field activity sessions. The lectures within the workshop were highly condensed instructional sessions, which proved to be intimidating and a bit overwhelming at times. Thankfully, lectures throughout the 5 day period reiterated topics previously covered, allowing for a grace period for comprehension and application of newly introduced concepts. Within the lectures given throughout the week, instructional videos were utilized in order to provide an alternate perspective on the application of GPR technology. Although a new angle on GPR technology is always refreshing, the highly informative videos proved to be so dense that it was feasible to quickly lose focus on the subject at hand. In order to combat drowsiness and potential boredom, both instructors dedicated time for one-on-one instruction on EKKO Project and GPR Slice software programs - which was both exciting and incredibly informative. Outside of the lecture area, the field activity sessions allowed for a direct application of necessary techniques of GPR science: from flying (and crashing) drones, all the way to surveying grids with a ground penetrating radar system. The field sessions were a welcomed break to the intensive series of lectures, and demonstrated a realistic environment for properly using a GPR system within an archaeological context. All together, the workshop provided the skills necessary to utilize and comprehend the use of GPR and its associated software systems in an impressively short amount of time.

 

GPR Workshop - Evaluation/Review 6

 

So good things first. Firstly I loved the CV reference at the end. There's something to be said for doing a recap at the end of study to refresh memory and the presentation of it as a CV meant that the recap itself was useful. So that's my biggest highlight. The next big thing that I loved was that we got to play around with both the drone and the GPR and that multiple designs were discussed, so we learned about not just the tools we were working with but how they differed from other models. I'm also very pleased that you gave us the videos and lecture notes to take home, if you hadn't I would have raised it here as a negative but because you did it's a booming positive to me. Also, I'm sincerely glad we got to look at both EKKO and GPRSlice, they are two fundamentally different programs and while I loved Slice, I'm really glad I saw both of them.

 

Negative points: As you know there were some issues with the computers processing data in a timely fashion. While I think it's important you get us to try and process the data like that, it's possibly worth having the data previously processed where possible so that if it's slow you can just tell the student to close it and open the previously processed files. This would not be possible sometimes but where it is that would solve the issue I had which left JP and I unable to work on anything for over an hour.

 

Also, I think it would be good, if time permits, to have you run through the same process with us after we've had a shot. So after we grabbed the data, analysed it, made our drawings, etc., you opened it up on the projector and drew your own conclusions then compared that to what we made. That way we get trial and error and your viewpoint on it.

 

Final note: Out of the three of us, I think I picked it up the slowest, but by the end of it I still felt I had a working knowledge of how to get the information and start interpreting it (more so in GPR Slice than in EKKO), even if the limits in my interpretations paled in comparison to the other two.

 

Thank you for the course. I am now going to find out how much it will cost for me to play around with drones back in Australia. Because THAT was fun.

WHAT'S UP?
LAST EVENT

NEW PROJECTS

 

  • The outstanding success of our 2018 and 2019 GPR projects, the Applied Field Geophysics Workshop - GPR Applications, prompted us to buy a second GPR unit with a different central frequency and a different configuration. As a result, our participants will have the unique opportunity to get fully proficient on a 250MHz GPR system, in a cart configuration, as well as 500MHz system, in a rough terrain configuration.

  • Furthermore, participants who are committed to expand their field skill set can register to our new Geophysics Exploration and Field Excavation program. It is a 4 week program, combining the GPR Applications Workshop (5 days) and  Roman Villa Excavation (3 weeks). Participants save $200 over the combined costs of the individual programs.

2020

New for our 2020 season: our Applied Field Geophysics Workshop-GPR Applications will allow the comparative professional training on the core GPR systems and configurations used in near surface investigations: 250MHz and 500MHz transducers, in respectively cart and rough terrain configurations. Our program is open to all disciplines, focusing on GPR theory, methods, techniques and applications.

 

As a result of overwhelming positive response and further request from our participants, we are offering the possibility to combine all sessions of our the GPR Applications Workshop with both field sessions of our Roman Villa Excavation as a stand alone program, allowing to save $200 on the combined fees. Our two research/training case study sites have been carefully chosen to combine increasing complexity of ancient, historical and modern features. These sites provide an unparalleled access to a diverse set of features and conditions.  We address urban and proto-urban settlement construction, complex anthropogenic stratigraphic relationships, variation in soil structure and conditions, wide range of materials and their use/reuse, unmapped ancient and modern utilities, potential graves, modern and ancient civil works projects (including the remains of roads, aqueducts, and wells), changes in hydrogeological environment caused by modern human intervention, and all as-yet undiscovered features. The highest quality for the best price on any GPR courses available anywhere!!!

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