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Revolutionising Fossil Excavation With Cutting-Edge RFID Technology

Dinosaur fossils are now being unearthed and catalogued with an innovative technology that significantly enhances workflow efficiency.

HID’s RFID ID tags and InfraMarker's RFID system, combined with Esri’s field mapping software, have enabled a remarkable 80% improvement in the workflow of the Earth Sciences Foundation’s excavation projects.

“For a couple of bucks, I know where everything is. I can't speak glowingly enough about how well this works for us. We are in the middle of nowhere; there's no Wi-Fi connectivity here, and it (RFID) still works,” said Tom Hebert, Founder and Director of Earth Sciences Foundation.

The Earth Sciences Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fossil excavation, is leveraging this advanced technology in the remote fields of South Dakota. The adoption of RFID tags has drastically reduced the burden of manual data entry and administrative tasks, allowing field technicians to focus more on core activities like research and fossil conservation.

What is RFID?

RFID ID tags are a type of tracking system that uses radio frequency to search, identify, track, and communicate with items and people. David Chose, HID Global Sales Manager for the Americas Identification Technologies Division, explained, “RFID is radio frequency identification and an easy way to think about RFID tags is that they are a wireless barcode attached to an object that you can change and update. The big benefit here is that Tom and his team can update the RFID tags on the fly.”

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This flexibility means each step of the process, from excavation to museum display, can be easily updated and documented. This level of tracking ensures that the life of each fossil is meticulously recorded, enhancing research, collaboration, and the overall scientific understanding of these ancient specimens.

A Seamless Transition

“Using HID’s RFID tag technology, GIS mapping, and geospatial curation, we can see the life of this fossil from the time we found it in the ground, to the time we put it in storage, to the time we prep it, clean it, restore it and display it in the museum. This allows people to follow the adventure of this bone from beginning to end. It also allows us and other scientists to do better research, collaborate easier and exchange ideas faster,” Hebert stated.

The implementation of this technology has been a resounding success. In just five days, the excavation team cataloged 347 fossils, demonstrating the rapid adoption and efficiency gains of this innovative approach.

Mike Klonsinski, President of Berntsen, emphasized the broader implications of this success: “This project is the proof that any organization that needs to track and manage assets across space and time will benefit from incorporating RFID with GIS.”

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