Starting back in 1985 with HP calculators, Dibble and McPherron worked to write software to help archaeologists run total stations (theodolites with built in electronic distance meters or EDMs). Our software was intended to replace professional survey software by making it simple to do the basic operations that archaeologists need. We wanted a system easy enough to use that archaeologists with no technical background can be trained in a day to operate the station. Importantly too our software uses configuration files that allow archaeologists to specify which fields they want to record with each point. We required a few general fields, but after that the configuration file can be modified to fit the needs of each project.

The EDM Mobile and EDM Windows version of our software are the ones currently in use by OSA. The later works well on laptops. It will run under Windows 10, but there can be some difficulties getting the cables to work initially. The former works well on Trimble Nomads and less expensive equivalents, but it won't be long before supporting hardware can't be found.

McPherron has now a working version of EDM rewritten in Python and open source. This version is cross-platform including Android devices. Since the summer of 2019, OSA has been using it with Microscribes to excavate sediment blocks in the lab for the Pech de l'Azé IV Layer 8 project. More recently, Leica total stations were added to the program. The current version still has bugs, but some people are helping me test it. Hopefully by the end of the summer of 2022 we will have a stable version. You can find it on McPherron's GitHub page.