cyberSW and SKOPE Now Work Together

Two web applications that invaluable for synthetic research in the Southwest US, cyberSW and SKOPE, are now interoperable.

cyberSW is an online database that integrates Southwest US archaeological data from much of the CRM and academic literature from the Chaco era through for the late pre-Hispanic Period. With a few keystrokes, users can explore and analyze over 13.7 million ceramics, 350,000 flaked stone artifacts (including 10,000 sourced obsidian specimens), and 2,000 public architectural features from more than 25,000 settlements. The web app includes: (1) powerful tools for exploring and visualizing the distribution of archaeological sites, ceramics, obsidian, and architectural features; (2) exporting site records that contain citations, original data, and our aggregated data classes; and (3) an analytical toolkit that computes a variety of analytical measures and a sophisticated chronological tool that provides a date range for each site and the ability to divide ceramic assemblages from multi-component sites into 50-year time intervals. These analytical tools can be used with the database to reconstruct demography and social networks across the Southwest, from 800 to 1600 C.E.

SKOPE (Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments) enables users to easily discover, explore, visualize, and synthesize knowledge of environments in the recent or remote past. Given a location and temporal interval, SKOPE offers easy, interactive access to sources of long-term, high-resolution environmental data reaching back more than 2000 years. Notably, SKOPE provides painless access to (1) PaleoCAR, which offers high temporal and spatial resolution, retrodicted precipitation and temperature data for the Southwest US; (2) the Living Blended Drought Atlas, that offers the Palmer Modified Drought Index (PMDI; the successor to the PDSI) for the contiguous 48 US states; and (3) US elevation data through the SRTM90 elevation Model. Using SKOPE’s intuitive user interface, users: select a paleoenvironmental dataset; define a study area (point, circle rectangle, or arbitrary polygon); and specify a temporal interval and variable to analyze. SKOPE then provides an animated time-series display of the spatial distribution of retrodicted values, graphs (that can be smoothed or displayed as Z-scores), and descriptive statistics summarizing the retrodicted values for the selected area through time. All work conducted in SKOPE can be downloaded and sessions saved for later access.

Both projects were developed with generous funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Current NSF funding has enabled SKOPE and cyberSW to interoperate. Now, a geographical area being investigated within cyberSW can get full access to SKOPE’s visualized paleoenvironmental data for that area with a single click. This integration also allows SKOPE, when accessed through cyberSW, to take advantage of cyberSW’s rich store of polygon boundaries for hydrologic and political units (e.g., counties or modern or ancestral tribal lands). Note, however, that SKOPE’s computations may time out for large areas. SKOPE’s computation load mainly depends on the size of the smallest rectangle that will enclose the selected area. At present, for PaleoCAR, a maximum area of that rectangle before the app times out is about 10,000km2 (e.g., a square 100km on a side or a 50km radius circle).

Access to both web applications is free, though users must register to use cyberSW.
Try cyberSW and SKOPE.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 2213921 to the University of Colorado, 2213962 to Archaeology Southwest, 2214068 to the University of Arizona, 2212898 to Arizona State University, and 2212725 to the University of Montana.

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