At Hierakonpolis, Joel works as a surveyor, cartographer and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist. He received his Bachelors Degree in Egyptology in 1980 from the University of California Berkeley, and his Masters Degree from the same university in 1983. Since that time, he has been working primarily as a surveyor in Southern California, but also as a consultant for California archaeological projects. He has also been teaching courses in archaeology and surveying at Palomar College in San Diego county.
Joel has been working at Hierakonpolis since 2002 and in that time has completed detailed maps of a number of loci, including HK6, Old Kingdom Hill, New Kingdom Hill, HK64, and the Fort. He has also been doing a GIS Time Animation at HK6 and HK43, as well as the Fort Cemetery based on its publication. His specialty is applying new surveying and cartographic technologies to archaeological sites.
In 2003, the Hierakonpolis expedition was one of the first projects to obtain high-resolution commercial satellite imagery and apply it to an archaeological study (though with more recent applications such as Google Earth, this has become common place). In 2007, we again used satellite imagery, this time a stereo-pair of images, to create an accurate contour map of the entire site, along with HK's sister site across the river, El Kab. Most recently, in 2012, Joel made a 3D scan of the fort using a High Definition Surveying laser scanner, which collected approximately one-hundred million survey points of the Fort and used the points, along with photographs, to create an accurate three-dimensional computer model of it.
Currently, Joel is also doing mapping work for British Museum project at El Kab and for the Joint Malqata Expeditions's work on the West Bank of Luxor. He is a frequent contributor to the Nekhen News with updates about his small share of the exciting work going on at Hierakonpolis.