As the academic year comes to a close and people start gearing up for the summer field season, we thought it might be a good time to start talking about the logistics of updating your data collection methods to include iPads and other digital methods. 

The first choice you have to make is which OS (operating system) you're going with. There are three main options: Mac, PC or Android. PIARA choose to go with Mac products for a few simple reasons: 
  1.   Mac's hardware (iPads), operating system (iOS) and software available are well developed and fairly ubiquitous in the mobile computing world.
  2. The iPad provide the best durability, portability and widest range of available applications for the best price.
  3. Projects that we modeled our own after (most notable the iPads in Pompeii project) used Mac products, helping to provide a "template" of sorts to follow.
  4. Cross-platform compatibility between Mac and PC has come a long way in the past few years, so we did not feel we were completely limiting ourselves to only using one over the other.  
But do the research for yourself because each project and its needs are different. When we first began researching this whole "digital archaeology" idea we came up with a Device Comparison Chart, such as the one featured below, to get an idea of what it was that's important and essential for our needs as project. 

 Reflecting back on our decision to go with iPads and "the dark side" I'd say we made the right call. Apple is continually updating its products hardware and software as our its third party application developers. Further, and perhaps most important, there is a growing body of support for using iPads in the field and other archaeological contexts. Our next blog post will continue on this theme with a discussion of: "so you've got an iPad: Now what? Protection, software and more". If you have any questions or comments that you would like to be addressed in this or any other post, please comment below!