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Legacy databases and GIS: a discussion of the issues illustrated by a case study of archaeological site data from southeast Alberta, Canada

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Many institutions and agencies are currently faced with the issue of geographic information systems-enabling legacy databases. The problems can be acute for data sets that have been compiled through many years, using different standards and levels of recording. To explore these issues further, we report on a data quality assessment undertaken in 2002 for a subset of the archaeological site database of the province of Alberta, Canada. Our work shows that positional ambiguities in the data set can be highlighted and corrected by relatively straightforward procedures. This case study also provides an indication of the amount of work effort that will be involved in validating or ‘cleaning up’ data sets so model results and analyses undertaken with them are more reliable.

Keywords: Alberta; ambiguïtés de positionnement; archaeological site data; base de données archéologique; base de données longitudinale; base de données spatiale; data quality; geographic information systems (GIS); legacy data; positional ambiguities; qualité des données; spatial database

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Archaeological Survey of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2P8 ( ), Email: 2: Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5N 0M6 ( ), Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2009


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