Early explorers relied heavily on maps or they employed cartographer to accompany their group to map unexplored areas. Maps are miniature representations of reality that are used to help conceptualize large areas of interest.
In modern times, maps are usually derived from the manual or computer aided interpretation of aerial photography or satellite imagery that have been corrected for geometric and radiometric (light) aberrations. From the aerial photography or other remote sensors, valuable components of the land and water can be derived such as elevation, slope, land cover and land use, geology, soils, turbidity, depth, and other significant factors of interest to our group such at human habitation that can be discerned through analysis of land structural patterns that are indicative of historic land/human interactions.
In the search for the Great City of Zarahemla, there are millions of acres of land that could be considered, but after nearly 30 years of exploration, leaders and contributors to the Heartland Research Group have narrowed the possible locations to thousands of acres. Most significant research projects begin with a thorough survey of the land. This is normally accomplished using the most current aerial photographs and land survey information. These data are used to construct a geographically referenced database that can be used in a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS is used to store and manipulate spatially referenced data and employ analytical operations to extract information that can be used for important project decision making purposes.
On this web page you see some of the equipment Air Data Solutions (ADS) is prepared to use to support the Heartland Research Group in their efforts to find the Great City of Zarahemla. ADS employs data collections and imagery analysis experts on staff and continually updates their equipment and processes to provide the most cutting edge services available today. The data from these instruments will be used to narrow down the search areas for subsequent ground level surveys using state-of-the-art magnetometry and ground penetrating RADAR systems, which data will be placed in the hands of professional archeologist for more detailed ground surveys.