Archives for category: Drawing

Note: Michael Jennings is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. He is responsible for the recording at the Jericho Mafjar Project. This past Fall, he spoke with some of the PARP:PS participants including myself about adopting the iPads for his project. I asked him to write an entry for this blog noting, in particular, what he is doing differently than we do at PARP. He can be reached at

What does one do with an entire area of an archaeological site for which all records of excavation (including plans, notes, and finds) have been lost? Addressing this question was one of the main objectives of the 2011 Jericho Mafjar Project (JMP), a joint archaeological investigation of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities and the University of Chicago at the iconic site of Khirbat al-Mafjar in modern Jericho. The site, as we know it today, consists of two main areas: a southern sector that includes a palace, pavilion, and magnificent bath, and a northern area. The northern area, excavated by a Jordanian team in the 1960s, is the area for which all records are missing.

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Remember that the reason we used iDraw for scaled drawings at PARP:PS is because the trench supervisors were used to that workflow. They have the skills to make good scaled drawings and they do them rather quickly. We didn’t want to introduce too much change all at once. Having them conquer vector drawing and learn how to draw with their fingers on a tablet was enough.

But it wasn’t the most efficient workflow. It still involved moving data from the tablet to the CAD environment and vice versa. What we really want to do is to have the tablet drawing directly to the spatial environment. If we can get both the total station speaking to the iPad and a true CAD environment, that would be close to ideal.

We are making baby steps. Autodesk came out with AutoCAD WS. We have loaded our CAD drawings from this past summer to the AutoCAD website and are evaluating the use of this software for the next season. AutoCAD WS came out this past fall but only offered online editing. Since we use our iPads offline this was less than useful. But the new version, updated in December 2010, offers offline editing.

We would like for the software to support 3D but for now are stuck in a 2D drawing environment with AutoCAD WS. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Bad in that we want 3D data, but good in that the trench supervisors would have a much greater learning curve with 3D drawing than with 2D drawing, and we can avoid that for now.

The total station data is another beast. I know that the Athenian Agora uses hand-held computers (Palm pilots, see Richard Anderson’s and Bruce Hartzler’s chapters in The Athenian Agora: New Perspectives on an Ancient Site, ASCSA 2009) to get points directly from their total station but I don’t know of any total station company that is preparing to introduce an iOS (or Android) app for direct communication from the total station to a phone/tablet device.

Even if there was a bluetooth capable total station there isn’t necessarily a path to a visual display of the data. The old way of doing this was to have ArcGIS Mobile (or ArcPad) running on a Windows Mobile device (up to version 6.5) or on a Windows tablet with software provided by the total station or GPS manufacturer (such as Trimble Pathfinder and/or GPSCorrect). So half of the solution was created by ESRI and the other half by the total station company.

Hopefully with the new tablet technology this kind of software architecture can be made to work again. ESRI does have an ArcGIS app for the iOS and Windows Phone 7 (with Android support promised later this year). The ArcGIS app will allow rudimentary data collection, but it is limited to adding points either by sight or by the phone’s GPS signal. There is no way to import points or to draw polylines or polygons.

Let’s hope that ESRI or Autodesk does step up with an enhanced app with an API that will allow total station manufacturers the ability to use it for importing and displaying point data. I would pay money for that.

The previous iDraw exercises paid no attention to scale, they were focused on gaining familiarity with the concept basic technical drawing skills. When you try to draw original items on the ground, you need better scaling and layer controls.

PARP:PS has always drawn at 1:20 scale. Since the original iDraw only used pixels for the units, we had to create a scale bar that made logical sense to the user and draw things in an artificial scale. But now that we can use different units in iDraw we can have a better sense of size when we draw.

We also had to arrive at a logical layer structure. Being able to turn layers on and off is key to moving elements out of your way to focus on the drawing. So our drawings used the following layer structure:

  • Elev Text
  • Elevations
  • SU Text
  • SU
  • Walls
  • Tr Outline
  • Baselines
  • Scale Bar
  • Image

This layer structure, and the major grid lines standardized on 5 instead of 6, can be copied to your computer using the instructions below. The file that you download and install will be an A-3 sized document with millimeter sized grids.

iDraw documents are packages. That is, it is really a folder, but your iPad thinks it is a document. The problem is that when you copy native iDraw documents to the Mac, the Mac doesn’t see it as a package, but as a folder. And it will copy the document over to the iPad as a folder, and iDraw won’t recognize it as a document. The trick is to make the Mac think it is a package, then copy it over, and then rename it in iTunes. So the file that I made has a .pkg extension, making it look like an installer package. Download the file here, which will start as a .zip file. Once decompressed it will be called GridA3.pkg (and the Installer might try to install it but return an error which can be dismissed). Using the file sharing feature of iTunes, copy the GridA3.pkg file to iDraw. While still in iTunes, rename the file GridA3.idraw. Close and re-open iDraw and you will see the new file. Duplicate that document to have the scaled five line grid system and the pre-defined layers.

As you draw, you will often see a rectangle with the dimensions of the object near your finger. If you are used to doing scaled drawings at all it will soon become easy to translate those cm dimensions on the screen to cm dimensions on the ground. Multiply the number on the screen by 20 to get the ground measurement. This allows you to draw triangulation lines corresponding to tape measurements to properly place objects.

A bonus to using the A3 sized document to practice with is that you can import the drawings from the previous exercises and, since they were scanned at 100% scale, they will be properly scaled on the iDraw drawing.

Here are a couple of finished drawings from the 2009 season of PARP:PS:

51000 Plan 27

52000 Plan 9 Final

First, a configuration setting. Go to the settings app, select general, then keyboard, and turn Enable Caps Lock to on. This will let you type in acronyms like PARP or SU with a double tap of the shift key. The key will turn all blue with a white arrow. Also note the double tap . function. This is a holdover from the phone. If you are typing in a sentence and want to hit period, space, type the space bar twice.

Now, on to the homework. Add a couple of walls and two SUs.

You will need this drawing.

Duplicate your second drawing. Name it 29.4 lastname. Mine still has the scan layer, but it is hidden. Make it active, then delete the old scan and insert the new one (above). Rotate it and scale to match the outlines of drawing #2.

Make a new layer and call it SU. On that layer, draw the solid lines that represent the walls. Experiment with using each of the line tools available: brush, pencil, and bezigon.

Don’t forget to draw what looks like a floor surface at the top.

Once those are done, make a closed form with the bezigon tool for the two SUs. Trace the outline as much as possible. You might have to make the fill translucent before you draw so the solid color doesn’t cover up parts of your drawing while you are trying to draw. Make the two new shapes have no line, and a solid color fill (any colors will do). You can use the pen tool to cleanup the shape so it more closely matches the pencil drawing lines.

Use the align and order tool (the two square icons on the upper right) to send the SU shapes behind the wall outlines.

Then make your text layer active again. Reuse any elements that you do have and copy/paste to make any new ones needed.

Don’t forget that you can copy and paste group elements, too. Since there were three elevations on the first drawing, place those. Then select all of them and copy/paste. Move the three new arrows into place, move the numbers, and edit the numbers. Don’t forget the elevations.

This is my finished drawing:

And just to show what you can do with a digital drawing that you will never be able to do on paper, I added a couple of photos from the database to the drawing to more clearly illustrate what is going on.

This exercise will build on the scale bar drawing we did earlier.

Download the drawing below into the iPad Photos app (tap and hold and select Save Image).

Trench 29 drawing 2

In iDraw, you can duplicate a file with the plus button in the lower right. Duplicate the scale bar drawing and rename it 29.1. You should already have a layer named scale bar. Make a new one named scan. You can put it below the scale bar layer if you want, but make sure that it is the active layer. Use the rightmost tool on the bottom tools to import the 29.2 drawing. By default it will be horizontal and take up the whole screen width (we are ignoring scale at this point and focusing on drawing practice). Use the blue handles (scale) and orange handles (rotate) to turn it and take-up most of the page (mine has north going to the bottom left for no particular reason). Make a new layer named Trench. You will make your drawing in this layer.

If you had Snap to Grid turned on, now would be a good time to turn it off (from the Gear menu at the top).

Take a look at the drawing for a moment. There is a mixture of solid and dashed lines. Plus, while most of the lines are straight some are not. Because of the mixed line types this will have to be drawn in pieces and will not be one shape.

Start with the three dotted lines. Draw them with the line tool, just making three swipes. Don’t be timid. Draw with confidence. Don’t worry if the line isn’t accurate at first. You can fix the start and end points with the move tool afterwards (select the move tool, then click the line and move the start and end points). Change the line quality with the inspector (the italic i inside the circle at the top). I am using 2 pt lines which are about the same thickness as the lines in the pencil drawing.

Now for the solid lines. Two of those are easy. Use the pen tool to make a polyline. That is, tap once and it starts a line. Tap again and it goes to that point. Tap again and you are making a polyline. Do the two straight sets like that. This is easiest to do if you zoom in as far as you can. For the third line (upper right) use the pencil tool and drag your finger along the line. You might have to change the line quality (thickness) to match your dotted lines.

Editing the polylines is fairly straightforward but takes practice. You can select the line you wish to edit with the move tool. Then tap on the pen tool and all of your points that make up that polyline will be available. The tool bar that pops up on the lower left will let  you add, move, or delete points on the polyline. You can move either the point itself, or the direction handles that change the curve of the line.

iDraw pen tool for editing polylines

Make a new layer for your text and labels. Since we are building one drawing on top of another this will make it easier for you to move or delete for the next homework.

This is my finished drawing from last spring. The elevation triangles are a leftover drawing convention from another project, but I found the elevation symbol in the original pencil drawing difficult to move without being able to group (which iDraw couldn’t do last year). But now that we can group, I will probably redo that symbol.

29.2 drawing by Wallrodt

Next we start adding SUs.