BU Archaeology Program Remote Sensing Equipment is available for use in the field, hands-on classroom, and lab instruction conducted and/or approved and overseen by BU Archaeology faculty and students.

Before requesting equipment, please see our Equipment Use Policy.

The list of available equipment is as follows:

Aerial Surveying and Imaging

Wireless Remote Control Hexacopter
The Freefly Systems Cinestar-6 Hexacopter with Panasonic GH2 Digital SLR Camera (2013) comes equipped with two SD 32GB cards, a Graupner MX20 transmitter and Acer Notebook and MK Tools software. This system is useful for oblique and vertical aerial still photography and videography from altitudes up to 250 meters. The system can also produce high-resolution orthophoto and DEM production images.

Wireless Remote Control Quadcopter
The Phantom Professional 3 Quadcopter with a Sony EXMOR 12.78 mp Camera (2016) features a lens that can produce 20mm wide view at f2.8 with an ISO range of 100-3200 video and 100-1600 for still photos producing 4000 x 3000 high resolution still images and ultra high definition 4K video images 4096 x 2160 in size. This ultra-light system fits into a medium size backpack for easy transport. The flight range is 5 km.

Ground Surveying Equipment

Total Station
The Nikon NPL-352 Reflectorless Pulse Laser Survey Total Station (2001) provides on-board software, a graphical LCD display with keypad for efficient and accurate Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) without the need of a stadia rod and prisms to a distance of 400 meters for fast and accurate measurements of distance, elevations, and vertical and horizontal angles. The built-in tribrach makes for easy tripod mounting.

Global Positioning – Tripod Mounted
The Topcon HiPerLite + Real-Time Kinematic GPS System (2009) is used for survey-grade static and kinematic differential GNSS surveying using both the GPS and GLONASS systems with achievable static accuracy in the range of 1-2cm depending on conditions. The system includes base and rover receivers, FC-200 data controller with TopSurv software, a carbon-fiber survey rod, tribrach and tripod.

Handheld Global Positioning Unit #1
The Garmin GPS-12 (2001) handheld GPS receiver provides a navigation grade waypoint and track survey to determine latitude and longitude position to static accuracy of approximately 3 meters.

Handheld Global Positioning Units #2 + #3
The Garmin Montana 680 GPS units (2016) -two available- are receivers that feature touch screen programming with GPS/GLONASS systems to attain worldwide coverage, a 8 mp camera, compass, and barometric altimeter for use on land or water.

Handheld Global Positioning Unit #4
The Trimble Geoexplorer (2007) integrated GPS receiver offers Bluetooth wireless LAN radio connections, a TFT color display, SD card backup and a microphone to record real-time data to include with the readings. It is also capable of connecting to and incorporating data using SBAS, WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS augmentation systems.

Handheld Laser Compass
The Map Star Electronic Compass (2000) is a handheld laser ranging instrument used to measure distances, heights, and vertical angles to distances of 575 meters. The Map Star system also includes a SUUNTO PM-5 Clinometer to obtain optical readings of heights and angles of inclination.

Subsurface Remote Sensing

Electromagnetic Conductivity Meters
The EM31 (1987) and EM38 (1996) Electromagnetic Conductivity Meters with Omnidata Digital Data-Logger provide direct readings of terrain conductivity in millisiemens per meter to depths of approximately 6 meters and to 1.5 meters respectively. These are general-purpose subsurface mappers and are particularly useful where soil conductivity is too high to permit the effective use of GPR.

Ground Penetrating Radar
The Subsurface Interference Radar SIR 4000 Ground Penetrating Radar (2016) is a portable GPR system with a built-in graphic recorder. Short-time duration pulses are radiated into the earth from various broadband antennas and the echoes from the discontinuities in the subsurface soils are recorded. The system has four transducers (antennae): 120MHz, 250MHz, 400MHz and 900MHz that provide various depths of penetration.

Magnetometer Unit #1
The Geometrics Model G-856 AX Proton Magnetometer (1997) with Allegro CX Field PC data logger is used to measure magnetic fields at archaeological sites. It can measure variations to 0.1N and yield a true gradient measurement without interference from diurnal fluctuation or background field gradients. The data from both the G-856 AX and the G-858 (Unit #2 below) show contrasting readings between the subsurface soil surrounding underground objects of interest.

Magnetometer Unit #2
The Geometrics Model G-858 Portable Cesium Magnetometer (2000) with gradiometer option includes Magmap 2000 v3.06 processing software that provides efficient mapping of subsurface magnetic anomalies in various modes.

Field Spectrometer Readings

Handheld Spectrometer
The Bruker Tracer III-V+ portable XRF spectrometer with Lenovo ThinkPad (2011) using Bruker proprietary ARTAX software can produce real time on site analysis of soils, clay, rock, metals, art objects and pigments. X-Ray Florescence readings are recorded as they are made saving them for later comparison with known standards and subsequent readings.


Maria H. Sousa

Administrator of the Archaeology Program & Journal of Field Archaeology