About Dr Ian Johnson

Dr Ian Johnson’s principal interests lie in the integration of databases and spatial information through the use of Geographic Information Systems, their application to archaeological data, and the education of archaeologists to use appropriate computer tools.

Dr Johnson has a particular interest in distributed databases and time-enabled GIS (the TimeMap project), field methods of data collection, and extensive fieldwork experience in Europe and Australia. His role as Director of the ACL includes development of the facility, advice to other staff members, supervision of research students, teaching 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates and running training courses for professional archaeologists. From 1997 onwards his main work has been on the development of the TimeMap methodology and applications to mapping Chinese dynasties, the growth of Sydney and development of the methodology for the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. Some key interests include: Digital cultural atlases of contemporary and historical material, including web-accessible databases, web GIS, animation and 3D modelling; Issues of the digital divide and user participation in data collection; Methodologies for the recording, analysis and web-based multimedia delivery of time-stamped historical and archaeological data; Application of GIS to archaeological fieldwork and analysis; Archaeological survey methods; Aboriginal archaeology; Archaeology of Kythera.

An early interest in stone tools, stratigraphy and excavation methods led him to excavations in France and Germany and study at the University of Cambridge (BA) Bordeaux (DES) and Australian National University (PhD). Following postdoctoral work at the University of Queensland, three years at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, and three years as Aboriginal Sites Registrar at NSW NPWS, he joined the University of Sydney in 1990 and established the Archaeological Computing Laboratory in 1992. The ACL has evolved into a Digital Humanities centre supporting a broad constituency in the areas of web-based databases and mapping, field data recording, GIS and social computing. His current research focuses on methods for describing historical events and their relationships in a collaborative social database, visualisation of events through maps and timelines, and the use of these visualisations in museums and the classroom. He is team leader on 'Rethinking Timelines' and a CI on 'Living With Heritage' and 'Dictionary of Sydney' ARC Linkage projects.Research Projects: •    Living with Heritage (LWH)
•    Dictionary of Sydney (DoS) (Garton, Fitzgerald, Ashton, Coleman, Johnson)
•    Rethinking Timelines (D8504 A4303) (Johnson, Mostern, R., Robertson)

Selected publications


Mapping Archaeological Data: A Structured Introduction to MapInfo. Johnson, Ian R., 1995

Indexing and delivery of historical maps using TimeMap. Johnson, Ian R. (2005) XV – 4

Mapping the fourth dimension: the TimeMap Project (Johnson, Ian R) in

The TimeMap Project: Developing Time-Based GIS Display for Cultural Data. Johnson, I. et al. (2003) Journal of GIS in Archaeology 1

TimeMap Publications, downloadable

Living with heritage: site monitoring and heritage values in Greater Angkor and the Angkor World Heritage Site, Cambodia. Fletcher, Roland J. et al. (2007) World Archaeology 39 - 3