Nikon Metrology

iSpace for archeology turns your excavation area into a metrology lab

Large-scale, Nikon Metrology, Press Release

Leuven, Belgium – Drawing of contexts, sections and site plans can easily consume a huge part of the total excavation time. For particularly complicated and detailed sites this can even rise to as much as half of the total project time. To increase the productivity of these dedicated activities, Nikon Metrology presents the Archeology variant of its iSpace large-scale metrology system. Trials at Mont Beuvray, France, have shown that the Archeology iSpace solution records data 50% to 90% faster compared to traditional drawing methods. The archeologists on site were impressed with the new system, which only requires them to pick up the probe, press the button and start tracing! The iSpace for Archeology system is presented at the CAA 2011 in Beijing, the  39th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archeology (April 12-16).

Archeological recording made easy

The new iSpace variant is an industrially-proven metrology system that significantly reduces archeological drawing and data-gathering times. Its patented laser technology concept has been developed to quickly make probe measurements within a large working area. Within this geo-referenced “invisible metrology lab”, archeologists use probes to acquire highly accurate data. Third-party CAD or GIS software can generate digital 2D or 3D line drawings on the spot for verification by the excavator before downloading to the site computers.

Since less time is spent drawing and acquiring point coordinates, the duration of commercial excavations can be reduced and the productivity of fixed-term research excavations can be raised considerably.

Quick Easy setup and fast data capture

Setting up Archeology iSpace on site involves placing 3 or more battery-powered transmitters up to 40 meters apart around the working area. Power options also include generated or mains power. After quick and simple calibration and geo-referencing routines, iSpace is ready to record.

Within this working area, archeologists need only to pick up a probe, apply it to the terrain and start recording. This could be grabbing single point data (spot heights, find locations, etc.) far faster than using a total station theodolite. Or it could be to acquire streams of point data (as the probe is traced around contexts, features, etc.). When streaming point data, 3D coordinates are acquired at a rate of up to 40 points per second.

Modular system with instant drawing display

Archeology iSpace data is immediately available for viewing in a number of ways. The geo-referenced data can be fed straight into a CAD or GIS package, or reviewed using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

When a lot of recording is required, iSpace offers the flexibility to add more probes. The system even allows 20 or more probes recording data simultaneously within the working area! When dealing with very large excavation areas, more transmitters can be added to increase the size of the working space.


Nikon Metrology offers the broadest range of metrology solutions for applications ranging from miniature electronics to the largest aircrafts. Nikon Metrology’s innovative measuring and precision instruments contribute to a high performance design-through-manufacturing process that allows manufacturers to deliver premium quality products in a shorter time. Further information is available on

For further information please contact:

Jeffrey Bourque

Manager Marketing Communications

Nikon Metrology, Inc.