Poll: BAJR Award - HERs online
This poll is closed.
Exploring Surrey's Past
91 10.52%
Warwickshire Timetrail
197 22.77%
Sitelines (Newcastle)
100 11.56%
Northumberland and Durham's Keys to the Past
167 19.31%
Revealing Cheshire's Past
17 1.97%
Unlocking Buckinghamshire's Past
172 19.88%
Norfolk Heritage Explorer
42 4.86%
Highland HER
79 9.13%
Total 865 vote(s) 100%
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BAJR Award - HERs online
I agree with you over MAGIC and bandwidth I use BT and was on 2 meg now 8 and get not too bad speeds and also have a fast PC and MAGIC is usable most of the time with that but there are times...............
Those are points to be aware of..

However, I have super unfast Broadband (currently at .65Meg transfer) which is not bad for out here in the middle of nowhere.

The number of people with Dial-up: a current study shows of users connected to the Internet, 95.1 percent are on broadband connections, with 4.9 percent on dialup in the UK.

So using the dial up argument is not as valid as it was a few years ago.

It is perhaps a sad fact we all got in to, that we move technology along at the slowest rate.. I would contend that there is no reason why the 95% could not be served with top of the range information systems, and the 4.9% can still access the basic - rather than wait for the 4.9% to catch up - that is unfair to the vast majority.

I do indeed weep with frustration on some of these current systems, but do know (again for actually beta testing it) that it can be don, it can be done fast, and it can work.

One other point - which is more aimed at councils... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop blocking Googlemaps, Yu Tube, Facebook etc... the council may feel that the employees will spend all day checking their profile while watching videos of monkeys playing the piano, BUT.. the rest of the world is out there, it is how they communicate, the Councils are begining to cut themselves off from those they serve.

How many of you have to wait to get home to watch a video on here for example?

Many have now accepted Googlemaps as an essential tool, phew, but it was not that long ago I had to get special dispensation to use googlemaps (otherwise a BIG RED SIGN would pop up, informing me I was viewing an illegal site)

Lets move forward... with the majority... provide the info (in the way Sheep suggests) AND provide it in other imaginative ways..

Imagine the time saved, if you don't have to do a buffer search and data dump to a contractor... (of course they should inform you) but they could do it themselves.. drawing their own area, creating their own query.

The question is... whose information is it?

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
Niccolo Machiavelli
Calling SHEEP

If you send me a sample 20 odd records in shp format from your SMR

I can let you have a peek at what it looks like on googlemap... using GIS

The fun thing... which we tested, is over 250,000 records were served up in a matter of seconds, even on my clunking broadband..

Intersted? give us an email info@bajr.org

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
Niccolo Machiavelli
It's OK thanks, BAJR Host - I'm already convinced of the benefits of Google Maps. :-) You're right about the demise of dial up of course, but we still have to bear in mind the limitations of current broadband speeds in certain areas. It worries me the extent to which internet developments are being driven by the rise of superfast broadband. For example, I can't use the BBCi player with my 0.5MB connection and for the amount I'm paying it's VERY frustrating. I wouldn't want to see web mapping applications taking a similar course without regard for those of us who can only dream of 4, 6 or 8MB connections. Google Maps is a lightweight solution which seems to perform pretty well at the lower end of the connection scale so I agree with you that it's worthy of much wider use. You make a good point though about the attitude of many Council IT bods to Google Maps, which could present a barrier to many wanting to go that route.

I think we're only just starting to move on from the position that online HERs are not suitable for use by professionals. As far as I can see (hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong) of those in your poll, Highland's site comes closest to the kinds of functionality that is being discussed here. But further developments are happening elsewhere - I've just discovered WOSAS's online map, for example, which is really good and has loads of tools - and it works on my connection :-). The technology's clearly there, it just all needs bringing together and that does take planning and resources.

It's interesting, don't you think, how this started as a vote about how interesting/educational/fun the sites are, and has moved on to a debate about how to enable better and more efficient use of the HERs by people in the profession. Clearly the two things aren't mutually exclusive, but this poll is very heavy with the first type of online HER so it's not wholly representative of all the developments that are going on.
Playing devils advocate.......

....At the end of the day, 'resources' seem to be the cause of many of the limitations of HERs. I wonder if/when HERs ever gain the 'legal' status promised through the postponed Heritage bill whether some economies of scale might be achieved by pooling the resources of some of the county/district/city HERs or even 'privatising' the function if a better level of access/service could be acheived.

It seems to me that one 'standard' of service nationally would be a vast improvement on a network of variables.

With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
I agree Sheep... the poll has stimulated debate, and although mainly based on those HERs that cater to a more general audience, the debate has looked at professional usage as well.

A what do people want list

we are best placed to answer the what do professionals want... how to get the other opinions.

Pooling resources of different councils... saving money... Smile I feel a snowball has just frozen in hell Smile

That however is a valid statement of sense... The WoSAS map is good.. but only for one county... (at the moment)

The offer stands though about a multi filter, buffering sql search query googlemap... OR a simple point and click show me stuff there...

Its is not so much if as when... the technology exists now.. and although I agree about the iPlayer fun on a .5Meg connection... (though I have squeezed another .1Meg out of mine) it would be like saying, we can't develop electric cars as nobody is using them just now... Smile

I hope people have another look at the Highland one :

though I found the map clunky (as I could not tell what a site was until I click on it... and relied on overlay ... which we hopefull will move on from) it is the closest to what I am talking about.

For the Wosas one..

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
Niccolo Machiavelli
Warwickshire Timetrail 196 votes
Unlocking Buckinghamshire's Past 169 votes
Northumberland and Durham's Keys to the Past 159 votes
Sitelines (Newcastle) 99 votes
Exploring Surrey's Past 90 votes
Highland HER 76 votes
Norfolk Heritage Explorer 42 votes
Revealing Cheshire's Past 17 votes

Warwickshire Timetrail

The winner of this poll was a hard fought contest, and although a bit of fun, it hopefully highlighted to people the wealth of information and resources available, and how the often dry factual content can be utilised in a number of ways that opens up archaeology and local heritage to a range of people from schoolchildren to interested members of the public and from professionals to researching students.

I would have been happy if there had been an eight way tie, as looking over them, they all had great content, but at the end of the day, a winner was chosen; Warwickshire Timetrail. with 23% of the vote.

I could wax lyrical about each one, and indeed there has been much debate on BAJR about the purpose and functions of an HER Online.

To concentrate on the Warwickshire Timetrail these are my personal thoughts:

A well laid out and presented front-page leads to a selection of resources that suit all users, and the HER search itself is one of the best out there, with simple, detailed and map searching available. The record data is useful, and with a useful glossary to explain the terms. Opening up to the local groups, the simple Report a find form, is user friendly and forward thinking - covering everything from excavations to metal detecting. (making it easy for people to get involved is a real benefit). The Local Studies Toolkit section is brilliant, and could be a model for us all. The online Exhibitions also takes the collected information and collates it into a coherent story. The school packs, Discovery Zones and Comics round off the website with truly accessible material for serious study and good old-fashioned fun.

Will publicise the result, but will ensure that it is positive for all, as they were all great resources, and I enjoyed browsing them myself. We should make more of these to the press?

Thanks for getting involved, I enjoyed it.

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
Niccolo Machiavelli
In light of the discussion about the use of Google Maps to present HER data, I had an interesting discussion with our Corporate GIS people today. Apparently using Google Map to display any OS derived data is a breach of the terms and conditions of the OS licence agreement.

There has been a long debate between Google and the OS about terms of use because at present if you display your data on Google Map you are giving Google the rights to the data. This is an infringement of the OS licence as all HER data (to my knowledge) is derived from OS data in that it uses the Projected National Grid for location purposes.

There are plenty of Local Authorities who currently use Google Map to display a variety of data as a cheap option to a full web map service, however, Bristol City Council have been advised directly by OS that to do so would be an infringement of the terms and conditions of use and we will not be using Google in this way.

If anyone has found a way round this legal issue I'd be interested to hear, but if you haven't you may be liable for some hefty OS fines. Interestingly negotiations between OS and Microsoft Virtual Earth resulted in Microsoft changing their terms of use while Google refused to alter their position.
We have the full FAQ from OS explaining the issues if anyone wants a copy, but I'm sure the document is available on their website.

Can I move this to a new thread.. as it is quite intersting indeed. Not only this but the copyright issue of pdfs of reprots that have OS maps in them..

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."
Niccolo Machiavelli
Please do.

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