1. What version of Windows support EDMWin?
2. What version of the Mobile operating system support EDM-Mobile?
3. What fields are required by your programs?
4. I excavate in units but only assign a number to each artifact no matter what unit it comes from. Can I still use your programs?
5. What is unit checking?
6. How many datums do I need on site?

1. EDMWin will work on Windows XP, Windows 7 and WIndows 10. Please don't use computers running Windows XP or Windows 7. Or, at least, don't connect these computers to the Internet. On Windows 10, you might have some troubles getting a serial to USB converter to work. We have found this to be a matter of chip sets and very difficult to debug. Direct USB cables from the total station, however, should work fine.

2. EDM-Mobile works on Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.5. The older version of the program, EDMCE, will work on earlier version of the mobile operating systems. The program will not work on Windows Mobile 7 (designed for phones) and we currently have no plans do adapt the program for this new operating systems as Microsoft has once again completely changed the programming environment.

3. Our EDM software is flexible in that users can define new fields and create new menus. However, certain fields are required by the system. These are Unit, ID, and Suffix. Further, Unit should be six characters, ID five characters, and Suffix is an integer field. Unit and ID together make a unique identifier for every set of points. Suffix allows multiple points to be associated with the same object.

4. While we require a Unit and ID for each object, this does not mean that you must use the unit field to mean archaeological excavation unit. For instance, at some of our sites, we make the unit equal to the site name and give the unit limits so that any point recorded at the site, no matter what excavation unit, will fall within this larger site unit. In this way the program can still manage the ID numbers and automatically assign the next available number.

5. Unit checking is a feature of our EDM programs wherein the program uses the X and Y coordinates returned by the station to determine from which excavation unit the point comes. To make this work, you must define the limits of your excavation units from within the program. Units can be square, rectangular or circular, and units should not overlap. Once this is done, our programs can then track ID numbers and whatever other fields you set by unit. In this way, for instance, the program can know that the next ID number in unit A3 is 212 and the next in unit D4 is 301, and it can remember that unit A3 was in level 2 and being excavated by Steve while unit D4 was in Level 5 and being excavated by Lisa. This feature greatly increases the speed to data recording, and it greatly lowers the potential of making a mistake with the ID number sequences. Additionally, if something should happen to the station, for instance, if it loses the horizontal angle but just a little, then points will quickly fall in the wrong unit or outside of any defined units and you will be warned immediately of the problem. This can also happen in reflectorless mode when someone or something comes between the station and the artifact. If the units are small (ie. 1x1 meter) then the bad point will likely fall outside the unit. Unit checking takes some time to initially setup, but it is one of the main advantages to using our software.

6. You need at least three datums on a site. One datum is required to set the XYZ. An additional datum is required to set a reference angle. And a third datum is needed to verify that the setup was done correctly. That said, you should install many datums on a site. Make sure that the distribution of datums allows you to install the station anywhere on site that you may need to. If you are using two datums to triangulate your location (3 point setup in our programs), it is better to have the two datums apart from one another. Make sure the datums will not move (trees are a bad idea). Take photographs of your datums from up close and from far so that you can find them again. Make a map of where your datums are located. And use a mix of datums easily found and datums not easily found. In some places, local people view datums as potentially marking something under them and so they dig them out of the ground or they value the metal and so they take them. In these situations you can sometimes use hardened nails and put them into large boulders, rock outcrops, or cliff faces. These can be incredibly difficult to find later, and so be sure to take good photos (and GPS coordinates). Leica (and likely others) makes nice sticker reflector targets (that work in both reflectorless and reflector modes) that are perfect for sitations where there are metal beams, sign-posts, etc. that will take a sticker.