Deep digital mapping

Posted by Alex-7 on 24 February 2017 in English (English)

Last weekend I went to map an archaeological site. I had read a couple of academic archeological papers on this excavation and knew the exact location of the site.

It is a Roman tiles, bricks and ceramic workshop near the town of Chancy which worked for eight hundred years, from 1st century BC till 7th century AD.

This archaeological site was excavated, and then it was covered with earth again for preservation. Still there are antique tiles everywhere around. At that epoch it was a hi-tech enterprise, a place where the Roman Empire was actually built. And it is not completely clear why it was closed after eight centuries of production (an interesting question for today’s reality too).

As a result:

I convert video to the open WEBM format, which is accepted by Wikimedia, with the command line tool ffmpeg. Some quality is always lost in conversion, but so far it is the best variant:

ffmpeg -i source.mp4 -c:v libvpx -crf 4 -b:v 18M -c:a libvorbis destination.webm

I used a free music with Creative Commons license for the video. But it is also possible to play yourself and record any music of any composer who died more than 70 years ago. For example, for these two videos I asked my spouse to play and record the musical themes:

Battle of Morgarten

The town of Zug

The idea of deep digital mapping is that reaching a remote destination takes time and effort. So being physically at the location allows not only to map an object on the OSM map, but also to film it, to record first hand impressions, perhaps to do some investigative journalism for a Wikipedia article, and link all this to the OSM map.

I realize by now that recording and editing a video is even more difficult than making good photos. Recording a musical theme is a world in itself too. It turns out that a digital piano does not record a MP3 file, but MIDI file (musical instrument digital interface), which should be exported to a computer first and then converted to an audio file with a program like the Logic Pro X.

If you have ideas or information on developing deep digital mapping, please, let me know.

Location: Le Cannelet, Geneva, 1285, Switzerland

Comment from dikkeknodel on 24 February 2017 at 21:09

Wow, this is a very extensive approach. I really respect that!

Comment from Alex-98723 on 25 February 2017 at 09:08

I liked the idea very much. May I suggest you add one more layer: the guided tour audio-photo-etc files thru the audio guide platform izi.TRAVEL. It is like youtube, but for those who are on the site. it will help visitors to get the right story played in the right place on their mobile phone, GPS-triggered. It works online/offline and supports any language and any phone OS. I can help if needed. Write to

Comment from jonwit on 25 February 2017 at 20:08

You still need to add a yelp, tripadvisor, and google place :) Do you think that this will then put it on the Pokemon Go App now?

Comment from Alex-98723 on 26 February 2017 at 09:48

Dear Jonwit, I would stop at some point and would not consider yelp, tripadvisor and google places as Deep Digital enough, as these are mostly POI for tourists. For me Deep Digital is a kind of “Knowledge Repositary” where people may get a profound knowledge about the places, not just advice on the best pizza in the town. “Educational” is the key word here. Therefore I would stick to the list of: - map (with turn-by-turn guidance) (for orientation on the site and preparation at home) - wikipedia (for in depth learning at home) - youtube (for fast and educational learning at home) - izi.TRAVEL (for educational learning on the site with an auido guide)

I would also make efforts in bringing it up to the OSM help center. But I am still young in this system (just 1 day), so I will learn it first.

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