#135 The Status of DIGTECH

That’s right. DIGTECH. I asked for name suggestions based on certain criteria on a recent blog post. There were some great suggestions in the blog comments and in some LinkedIn groups. The best one, however, came from Dona in one of the comments on the blog. She suggested, “Digital Technologies in Archaeological Research”. I’m changing that only slightly to:

Digital Technologies in Archaeological Consultation


I like it. Now I just have to build a company around it. Anyone want to design a logo?

The first thing I did was get the paperwork started for my permits. To operate in Nevada a company needs at a minimum a Nevada State Museum Antiquities Permit (to work on state and some private land) and a Cultural Resource Use Permit (To work on the rest of the land in this state).

To get the CRUP you need a curation agreement from a curatorial facility. It can be any facility legally able to curate artifacts. Now, I don’t plan to collect artifacts right off the bat. It’s going to be strictly a survey and recording operation. That’s what most archaeology in Nevada is anyway. Conveniently, you can get a curation agreement from the Nevada State Museum. I sent my request in with my request for a permit.

Now, I have to wait for the NSM Curation Agreement to come through. I have to send that in with the CRUP application. In the mean time I’ve been getting other documents in order.

Nevada State Museum DocumentsI also need to officially form the company and get a business license. A business license is a pretty simple thing in Nevada and costs $200 annually. Officially naming the company and creating something like an LLC or incorporating, or something, is another matter. I’m still looking into it. To start looking for clients I’m going to need a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ). It’s basically a document that says I’m awesome, here’s what I’ve done, hire me. Oh, and I need insurance. Probably several million dollars worth. It’s required by most clients and is just a good idea.

The more I think about working for myself the more I realize that there is nothing simple about a “simple survey”. First, I’m going to have to rent a Trimble sub-meter GPS. They cost about $5,000 new and I can’t afford that right now. I can get a cheaper Magellan Mobile Mapper or something similar for as little as $1,000 but I’d rather use a Trimble. Fortunately I found someone in Reno that rents them by the day for about $70.

Next, I’m going to need GIS support. Sure, I can use the free Quantum GIS program in the short term. However, I’m not a GIS guy. I can do the basics but if I do a bigger job it’s just going to be way more efficient if I have someone else do it. That goes along with my philosophy for operating a company. I don’t plan to have formal offices. I plan to have people work from home, or the beach, for that matter, which will greatly reduce costs. The GIS person almost never goes in the field so can really work from anywhere. With a secure DropBox account all I need to do upload the files (which is as simple as dragging them to the shared DropBox folder on my desktop) and they will almost instantly be available to my GIS person. They do the work, save the files in DropBox, and I pay them. Sweet and simple. I put out a request on LinkedIn and received a number of response from exactly they type of people I want: those that can work from home and have the software to do so.

I’ll also need a truck. Eventually I’d like to have a few hybrid SUVs with 10-ply tires. Not yet, though. In the interim I’ll have to rent from Enterprise. They have offices across the state and will do business accounts. I’ve worked for a few companies that used rental trucks and it seems to work out. The cost is passed on to the client but I hope that my digital recording techniques defray that a bit.

Most of the things I’ll need to survey as far as gear goes I already have. I have a digital camera (minimum 10 MP in Nevada), flagging tape, and the other usual supplies. I need to pick up some pin flags, though. I can get those at Home Depot at a good cost.

Even when I have all that together it won’t mean a whole lot if I don’t have any clients. Well, I’m working on that too. That’ll probably go in another post, though.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!