Asian Surveying & Mapping
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August 11th, 2010
Noninvasive Mongolia Archaeology Expedition Harnesses the Crowd

To date, Field Expedition: Mongolia has 5,614 explorers that have interpreted and tagged 142,675 images that are informing the on-the-ground fieldwork of the expedition team. These explorers have been trained via online video instruction to interpret these images for ancient land changes that could indeed be the mystical buried tomb of the ancient leader.

This exploration from above is sensitive to the cultural beliefs of the Mongolian people who view the tomb of Genghis Khan as sacred, and believe that any digging or disturbances in the area would unleash a curse to end the world. Lin and his team are augmenting this less invasive exploration techniques with other high-tech tools, such as thermal imaging systems, magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar — promising a no dig approach to this archaeological treasure hunt.

The small team of researchers and explorers is being led by University of California, San Diego researcher Albert Lin. Lin is also the program manager of the UCSD-NGS Engineers for Explorationprogram, that is giving graduate and undergraduate students hands-on experience in developing new imaging software and hardware for explorers.