A fascinating new platform called GlobalXplorer allows anybody on Earth to use the Internet to search for the secrets of human civilization.
University of Alabama professor Sarah and self-described “space archaeologist” Sarah Parcak won a $1 million TED Prize in 2015 for using satellite imagery to find archaeological sites that had become hidden over time. Now, she’s using that money to launch an amazing new platform called GlobalXplorer, allowing anybody in the world to seek out the ancient mysterious of human civilization anywhere on Earth.
It’s the culmination of two decades worth of academic research into “space archaeology,” which involves using infrared imagery and satellites to spot potential new sites. GlobalXplorer has a user-friendly interface and helps seekers find signs of things like encroachment, lotting pits and other indicators archaeologists use to find new sites.
The “looting” module is already live for Peru, allowing users to examine 200,000 square kilometers of high-resolution satellite images produced by DigitalGlobe, Inc. All it takes is to create a login, watch a short tutorial and start searching.
“GlobalXplorer° is an online platform that uses the power of the crowd to analyze the incredible wealth of satellite images currently available to archaeologists,” its website states. “Launched by 2016 TED Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow, Dr. Sarah Parcak, as her “wish for the world,” GlobalXplorer° aims to bring the wonder of archaeological discovery to all, and to help us better understand our connection to the past.
“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. With the help of citizen scientists across the globe, she hopes to uncover much, much more. This is just the beginning. 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.”