Tagged: Google

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.

Scout Leaders Who Topped Ancient Rock May Face Charges – NPR

Reprehensible is the first word that comes to mind after reading this story. Three Scout Leaders purposefully destroyed a 145-170 million year old rock formation in front of their troops, because they believed it posed a danger to hikers. In the video, they cheer and congratulate themselves over the fete of strength.

Google Camera Captures Walk Through Arlington National Cemetery – Washington Post


Image via Washington Post

Google on Sunday began its project to map the cemetery by collecting millions of photos and stitching them together to re-
create the feeling of strolling the iconic burial ground of presidents and soldiers. Online users will be able to zoom in close enough to read some grave markers. Or zoom out for panoramas of rolling hills dotted with thousands of white headstones. Or experience a 360-degree view of the resting place of America’s service members. The images will be available in May for the cemetery’s 150th anniversary. What a great way to share one of the United States’ most treasured historic landmarks! Let’s hope Google decides to map more historic places in the future.

US Capitol Dome to Undergo $60 Million Restoration – Vertical Access Blog


Rust gathers along the molding of the Capitol Dome. The architect of the Capitol says that water has seeped through the structure and is causing damage inside. Image via National Journal

“‘From a distance the dome looks magnificent, thanks to the hard-work of our employees,” the Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers says in a statement. “On closer look, under the paint, age and weather have taken its toll and the AOC needs to make repairs to preserve the Dome.’ Ayers says this will be first time the dome will receive a complete makeover since the one it received in 1959 to 1960.”

Is Recent History Too Recent? The Dilemma Over Preserving Our Pop Culture – Preservation In Action


Image via Boston Globe

The recent closing of the Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus, Massachusetts, has placed the future of the towering, 68 foot high cactus sign and full-sized, fiberglass steer by the highway in jeopardy.   Although many roadside structures and building that have been labeled “Americana,” are well-documented, landmarked and/or added to the National Register of Historic Places, most have not.  The author asks, “Should we even have the right to have an impact on what these private businesses do with their property?  Or does a time come when facades and features, like the cactus sign, become bigger than their owners? Do they become fixtures on the landscape of the built environment, symbols of the events and times of our lives … do they develop significance? “

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.

India’s Forgotten Stepwells – Arch Daily


Image via Archdaily

” It’s hard to imagine an entire category of architecture slipping off history’s grid, and yet that seems to be the case with ’s incomparable stepwells. Never heard of ‘em? Don’t fret, you’re not alone: millions of tourists – and any number of locals – lured to the subcontinent’s palaces, forts, tombs, and temples are oblivious to these centuries-old water-structures that can even be found hiding-in-plain-sight close to thronged destinations like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi or Agra’s Taj Mahal.

But now, India’s burgeoning water crisis might lead to redemption for at least some of these subterranean edifices, which are being re-evaluated for their ability to collect and store water. With any luck, tourist itineraries will also start incorporating what are otherwise an “endangered species” of the architecture world.”

High Mileage Alterations – NYT

do not touch

Image vie The New York Times

Many people believe owning property in a historic district regulated by the city will prevent them from making alterations to their homes in a timely, inexpensive manner and/or to suit their tastes and needs. Therefore, they approach architectural review boards or landmark commissions as enemies. In this NYT piece, residence of the city’s landmark districts were pleasantly surprised by their experiences.  They get to live in some of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, with the assurance that the commission will safeguard the character, atmosphere, and property values. And will help them to make the best possible changes to their property. Win/win!

In the Badlands a Tribe Helps Buffalo Make a Comeback – Washington Post


Image via Outside Magazine

“The Oglala Sioux and National Park Service are drafting legislation to create the first tribal national park — giving the tribe the right to manage and operate the lands — in an effort to bring buffaloes back to the grasslands where they roamed long before human settlement. These steps would reshape only a portion of the Great Plains, a landscape that has been transformed by cornfields, highways and big box stores. But for the Oglala Sioux, the wildlife that has defined their tribe and the region’s ranchers, it is a chance to reclaim an area that served as a crucible for the nation’s economic and political expansion in the 1800s.”

It’s Time To Do a Small City Well – The Burg

Many small cities could benefit from the advice this editorial directs to Harrisburg, PA. “So, what does it mean to do small city well?”  asks its author, “It means putting aside grand visions and oversized projects, focusing instead on a handful of basic services that will attract more residents and visitors.” These basics include repairing its streets, sidewalks, curbing and water/sewer system. Repairing streetlights, collecting trash, and fighting dumping. Enforcing building codes and ensuring that police are effectively deployed. “It must take pains not to lose another [historic] townhouse or commercial building to neglect and the wrecking ball.”  And ensure that new construction seamlessly fits into historic streetscapes. Because, “If it can do small city well, it will be able to attract people – and their money – back into town. A more prosperous Harrisburg then can make greater investments in education, neighborhood development and a variety of other good works that, currently, are utterly beyond its means.”

Examining Place Through Google – Preservation and Place


In this image of Goddard Memorial State Pare “you can see the remains of the mansion in the grass! Now, I’ve been here in person, and there is no evidence above ground of the mansion. No foundation stones, nothing.” writes PaP. Image via Preservation and Place

Have you ever used Google to examine a historic property?  I know I have. PaP points out that when examining a historic place from Google’s bird’s eye view, you can often see more than what still exists on the property. Patterns in the grass can show you where paths, buildings, and even individual rooms within those buildings once were!

Value of Google Earth 3D Modeling of Historic Structures and Context?

Are you on LinkedIn? Surprisingly, it’s more than just an online networking site that hosts your virtual resume. It has a discussion component. Sometimes the discussion occurring over at LinkedIn are pretty entertaining or informative. Today, I was intrigued by a question posted in the Heritage Conservation/Historic Preservation of the Built Environment forum.

Do you think that the Google Earth 3D modeling of historic structures has value (now and in future) as a record of the buildings and their context ?

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris via Google Earth 3D Cathedral Tour

I think the simple answer is yes.  Internet resources like Google Maps and Bing Maps have been used for some time by preservationists to record images of structures and their physical contexts. 3D images provide even more information. Images captured today, have the potential to be useful for years to come. On the other hand, images that are captured today may not be available in the future. Some sort of archiving system must be implemented in order for these images to be beneficial in the future.

Google Earth 3D models have the potential to yield a lot of information about historical sites because they present more visual data than most traditional sources (photographs, maps, drawings, etc). They can be manipulated to show aerial images, images of surrounding buildings and landscapes, and all elevations of a structure.  Additionally, the program is highly accessible and easy to use.

The value of Google Earth 3D images in the future really rests on the ability to retrieve the images years and decades from now. Unless some sort of archive system is created, Google updates will replace images with images of the current state of the site – leaving us with a snapshot of only what was there at the moment the image was captured. The updates themselves have the potential to be valuable, however, if an archive is created. Comparing images taken over a span of time could show the development of a site.  It could also potentially provide a 3D model of structures and landscapes no longer extant.

What do you think?  Leave a comment or if you are on LinkedIn weigh in over there.  (Or both!)