MoM Guide for Participants

Click here for MoM Guide for Participants PDF download

MoM Mappers, March is soon approaching!

You find here a small guide to help you map for your day and plan for a contribution (I’ll also include a printed copy with your GPS if you are borrowing one). It outlines the use of GPS, smartphones and how to record your site. I’ve also included some mapping tips.

For those of you outside Orkney, why not contribute an imaginary site for somewhere IN ORKNEY? Maybe it’s somewhere you have been, or some thing you think should or could be there.

More to follow soon…



PA2015: March Preview – Map Orkney Month – call for participants and info

What is Map Orkney Month?

Map Orkney Month is a large scale public mapping project running for the whole of March 2015. The idea is to make a new map of Orkney from people’s everyday journeys, places and ideas of heritage, a kind of island-wide archaeological survey. The result will be a collaborative map of usual geographies, daily journeys and new sites: a strategy of Contemporary Archaeology counter-mapping set to create new possibilities and encounters. Map Orkney Month aims to generate future heritage: maybe someone will follow the trail?

Who can be involved?

Anyone (as long as you promise to give the GPS back!). You just have to be in Orkney during March, although…

MoM encourages participants from outside Orkney. Imaginary journeys / sites can be emailed and included in the map, helping blur the distinction between conventional maps, survey and situated / imagined knowledge – the project is as much about the event and the process of mapping, as it is about the final map. This can include memory work. Perhaps you have been to Orkney before and remember some journeys and unusual places?

What do I have to do?

Carry a small GPS receiver for a day (I have several to lend out – turn it on first thing in the morning and off at night). This will automatically map your movements for the day and store them. You can walk, run, cycle, ferry, drive or fly within Orkney– it’s your call. You are encouraged to briefly record one place or site that is significant (or insignificant) to you in some way: location, written description, photos or video – it’s up to you. This will be added to the map.

You can use your own GPS if you have one (this would make things easier!). Just save your tracks / waypoints for the day and email me the .gpx files.

Alternatively, you can use your mobile to track your day using one of the numerous tracker apps- please save these as .gpx or .kml files and email.

What will happen to the results?

The new map of Orkney will be compiled with a list and location of everyone’s sites. This will be published in a leaflet available free in paper and PDF formats. I’m also open to suggestions and keen for MoM mappers to help guide the final stages – maybe you have other ideas (I can teach you some basic mapping & IT skills in return).

How can I take part?

Just email with suggested days within March 2015 (preferably within the first 3 weeks) when you can undertake your mapping. There will be a number of participants involved and days will have to be arranged where possible if you need to borrow a GPS. If you use your own GPS or mobile phone, then it’s really up to you! For those outside Orkney, just use your imagination during the month and email your tracks and site coordinates/description.


Dan Lee


Twitter: @infoPA2015 #MapOrkneyMonth


March 2015: Dan Lee, archaeologist

Map Orkney Month

My first thoughts for the Public Archaeology 2015 project were to keep things low key and small scale and to work intensively with a few members of the public over my month to explore places significant to them through walking and mapping. Then I came up with Map Orkney Month and things got (relatively) large scale!

Map Orkney Month will attempt to create a new map of the Orkney archipelago based on everyday journeys, significant (or un-significant) places, walks, driving etc. These journeys will be mapped using basic hand held GPS receivers used to record tracks. During recent projects I have been interested in using the archaeological walkover survey as a tool to investigate contemporary archaeologies, materials and events using GPS to record this process. Walkover surveys are low tech landscape surveys commonly employed by archaeologists to characterise the cultural heritage resource in a given area by walking, basic GPS mapping, making notes and taking photographs. I’m interested in using walkovers as a methodology in their own right, and the creative potential that this encompasses, rather than a first stage or baseline assessment for other archaeological work. I’m also interested in exploring the idea of rural contemporary archaeologies to balance the focus on urban areas in Contemporary Archaeology and see where this leads.

So, Map Orkney Month will effectively be a large scale public walkover survey, but in this case the mode of transport will be widened to include bikes, cars, boats and islander planes in order to broaden the scope and accessibility of the mapping process. I hope this will capture movement and journeying between places, as well as the places themselves, and help create a new alternative map. Participants would be encouraged to visit – and record by walking / cycling / driving – a single site or experience of their choice; but their contribution will be left largely up to them. Places may or may not include heritage sites. Each participant will have a GPS for one day and leave it running the whole time. I hope to have about 5 GPS on the go throughout the month or people can use their own. Participants will be asked to photograph/film the journey or site/experience or write/record a short description of their journey and chosen site. Most of the gestures in each participant’s track will be small scale, personal and perhaps only recognisable to them, however combined they would create new multi-vocal cartography.

I have yet to work out the finer details and the above guidelines may change as I think about the idea more; logistics will certainly be key in trying to get GPSs between islands and keeping track of the data. The resulting text could be turned into some kind of diary to accompany the map. I think it’s important to let the mapping lead itself and leave it relatively open. I’m excited about the prospect of a map that makes itself (with a little bit of help).

I’m keen to hear if anyone has heard of projects like this in an arts context or had experience running similar public mapping projects on a (relatively) large scale.

Map of Papay by Walking created from festival journeys, experiences and events at Papay Gyro Nights 2014.