Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys (RCZAS) are being coordinated by English Heritage in response to the potential effects of natural coastal change and coastal management schemes. By late 2010, surveys were complete or underway in all parts of the country with the south-west peninsula due to start soon.
Wessex Archaeology were commissioned by Kent County Council to undertake both Phase I (desk-based assessment) and Phase II (field survey) of this Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment.
An integrated solution
A working copy of the Kent Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) Database Management System (DBMS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) for the study area was set up in the offices of Wessex Archaeology and used for the desk based assessment work. This data was then downloaded onto mobile GIS for the fieldwork stage, allowing new records to be created in the field using the same data structure as the SMR. Records created and/or amended in the field were then loaded back into the working copy of the SMR ready for further assessment, SMR enhancement and reporting.
By setting up a working copy of the SMR for the project, then using mobile GIS to take data out into the field for data capture and validation purposes, the data flow from the SMR through the project and back to the SMR was streamlined. This meant less time was spent handling data and more time could be spent focussing on the archaeological work in hand.
A robust integrated approach such as this also facilitates quality assurance and reintegration of the data output back into the local archaeological record.