Skip to main content



Archaeological mapping
- Prof. Carl Lipo,

Department of Anthropology and IIRMES
California State University, Long Beach

"The diminutive island that is located in a remote part of the eastern Pacific, Easter Island (Isle de Pasqua or Rapa Nui) has a rich archaeological record. The most famous parts of the record are the colossal multi-ton statues (moai) that line the coast. Less well known and studied are the remains of domestic features, cultivation activities, statue roads, houses and other evidence of cultural activity that are scattered in nearly a continuous distribution across the island's volcanic landscape. Documenting these features of the archaeology of Easter Island has traditionally required costly pedestrian survey. Due to the rocky environment, these kinds of survey are slow and only provide a limited view of the spatial dimensions of prehistoric remains with limited geospatial precision.

This problem is neatly solved with the use of the Gatewing X100 UAS. With its small size and portability, the X100 is able to systematically fly transects across the island at low elevation to provide high resolution imagery of the archaeological record with extraordinary geospatial precision. In our work on the island, we were able to use the X100 to cover thousands of square meters in a few short flights.. These flights produced topographic studies and maps of archaeological material that would take years of work if done on foot. We were greatly impressed with the ease and sophistication of the X100 and look forward to using it to create the first comprehensive geospatial study of the prehistoric landscape of Easter Island."

have a look at a video of 3D flyby of Rano Raraku on Easter Island.

Newsletter subscription