Tech UPTechnologyArtificial intelligence to discover more geoglyphs, such as the...

Artificial intelligence to discover more geoglyphs, such as the Nazca lines

Archaeologists first discovered the mysterious Nazca lines in southern Peru while traveling on foot in the late 1920s. For nearly a century, new technologies such as satellite- or drone-based remote hyperspectral imaging and sensing, They have helped researchers discover hundreds of these figures in an area that covers about 500 square kilometers . Researchers at Japan’s Yamagata University have discovered more than 100 new geoglyphs since 2006, but now these scientists seek to work more efficiently and improve their ability to find and study new geoglyphs by using the IBM PAIRS platform and artificial intelligence ( IA).

Created between 500 BC and 500 AD, the Nazca lines represent shapes of varying complexity, from simple geometric shapes and plants to zoomorphic designs of animals, some several hundred meters long, etched into the ground. The exact purpose of the geoglyphs, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, is still unknown. Many theories have emerged as to why ancient Nazca cultures created them, from marking solstice points to offering art to deities in the Darling. By discovering more of these mysterious formations, archaeologists hope to gather clues to their existence.

Large-scale geospatial analysis

Hoping to discover new formations, better understand the complexity and culture of the Nazca lines, and raise awareness of their existence, archaeologists from IBM Research and Yamagata are jointly implementing IBM PAIRS Geoscope, the cloud-based artificial intelligence technology. from IBM to scale large-scale geospatial analysis with highly complex data sets. Until now, IBM’s PAIRS was used for crop identification and irrigation management, as well as for monitoring vegetation growth around assets such as power lines to reduce the risk of outages.

For Yamagata’s research, PAIRS offers the unique ability to analyze massive and disparate geospatial and temporal data sets from various sources, including LiDAR data layers, used to detect and examine the Earth’s surface, along with drone imagery. , satellite images and geographic survey information, to help reveal new lines and formations. Such integration is often a difficult challenge given the scale and heterogeneity of these data sources. Using traditional approaches, it would take significantly longer time to integrate these types of data volumes, which could add months to the discovery process. With PAIRS, these same tasks and analyzes are expected to take just a few minutes.

Before Yamagata adopted and deployed PAIRS, researchers at the university and IBM spent the last few months researching the feasibility of artificial intelligence to help better locate and understand new formations. Discovering new formations of the Nazca Line has historically been difficult due to the amount of “white noise” that surrounds them, including roads and flood trails. The researchers’ initial goal was to explore whether AI could help sift through huge amounts of data to identify relevant clues that could lead to new figures.

To test this theory, IBM and Yamagata used the IBM Watson Machine Learning Accelerator (WMLA) on IBM Power Systems to help researchers quickly analyze drone and satellite images to identify potential new geoglyphs. After training a deep neural network to identify the Nazca lines, the researchers fed the system with more images to see if the AI could detect marks that the researchers had not detected. The process was a success, as the artificial intelligence model discovered a humanoid-like figure in those images that the researchers were unable to detect, resulting in the discovery of a new Nazca line formation.

IBM Research and Yamagata hope to integrate large, multimodal and disparate data sets using PAIRS. Their hope is that by training artificial intelligence and deep learning models on these volumes of unique, unstructured information, they can gain valuable insights that could lead to greater discoveries and information surrounding the Nazca Lines.

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