Monday, August 10, 2009

Set the controls for the heart of the city…

Here is a SkyDrive listing for a pdf from a publication that a friend I worked for five years with, Victor Ortiz sent me recently from Mexico. He's in Mexico an archaeologist there, after working here for Grossman & Associates. I had met the gentleman in the article at a Rolleimetric upgrade on Long Island at Schneider Instruments. A Canadian firm was promoting 3D CAD field recording, using a system in development from Germany by Rollei, still available, in close-range photogrammetry, which brings the science of aerial mapping to earth, hand-held, and is used in variety of measurements, the first public use announced as I recall, ca. 1991, vehicular accident recording and accident investigation in England. Other uses are measuring a large land column by the sea, an abandoned Nazi stronghold on the Baltic eroding away, for example, or the "as-built" recording of a prairie church or mansion in Canada. Another use I read was the late 20th century planning for the "Crazy Horse Monument" out in the American West to aid in the mountain removal leaving the sculpture.

The gentleman, at the "2.0" upgrade, (Rollei stopped relying on Autodesk's AutoCAD for screen representation, a limiting number), gave me his business card, in charge of all the federal historic monuments in Mexico. He described the need for recording the large stones inside the cathedral needed to be documented and determined if they were moved by settling, i.e., water table falls, seismic events, perhaps archaeology, part of it also on a Spanish destroyed Aztec pyramid. In Version 1.0 I found the English translations from German difficult to understand, not a photogrammacist, though I did encounter aerial survey as part of archaeology training, plane-table alidade, etc., though not in a prehistory of Long Island field-school, a small site on Mount Sinai Harbor, NY. The English directions then came with it where before there were just module descriptions!

I have often thought NYC urban archaeology could aid architecture and offer in analyses, ideas and theories. At the now South Street Seaport parking lot, future "250 Water St." site, across from the National Register building at 251 Water St., is where the earliest section of a shoreline and then beginning built "Water Street" began, could be an example. I had researched the history of the entire block provided with the "chain of title" for all the available land deeds. It went to the client in 1995 and I finally obtained a copy of what was sent later in the 21st century. I only had three weeks to provide it, the Main Reading Room of the NYC Library closed for the Rose family benefactor renovations, also the Hayden Planetarium.

Much of the history search came from old NYC history tomes stored at the Bronx's Huntington Free Library in Westchester Square, the former location of the Heye Foundation's Ethnology collection, that sent along with the artifacts to the Smithsonian's "Museum of the American Indian" only then considered, previous matching grants offers had failed to find benefactors I learned while in grad school. Today of course it is in part, on exhibit in the large former "Customs House" at the foot of Broadway in lower Manhattan.

Recorded correctly, other information can be extrapolated about the early city, where the maps were changed in the new surveyor's orientations. One orientation, for example, became the center of the city's orientation and survey in the 19th century, Columbus Circle. An agreed to be "0,0" for the city's property map boundaries, surviving today on the original "linens" that represent survey coordinates in feet plus West, plus East, plus North and plus South, presumably from a mark near or under the statue of Christopher Columbus (or Colon).

That in today's GPS coordinate geography is difficult to translate, "un-Cartesian" where positive and negative number lines (x,y) are employed from 0,0 in most mapping systems, that is numbers can decrease in one direction or another at the same time, not increase in both directions all the time from Columbus Circle heading away in any direction. Angles North also changed and street orientation and buildings changed, which recorded, may help explain, when people follow lines, whose or what lines they were following, therefore a relative date of an archaeological item of interest, unearthed in the middle of a large modern block. Not "mudlarking" as they say in England, legitimate excavation there seems very precise in photo.

I also can't afford the OCR and translation software, it's also a "scan" not a "document" so I thought someone might reply with a summary or critique. If not please enjoy! Americans helped restore the large pipe organ there after a terrible fire.

Asian News International; Jun 11, 2009; 685 Words ...Americas section. The dig is in the middle of what was the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Near by stands the Catedral Metropolitana de la Asuncion de Maria, which was built from the stones of Moctezuma's Templo Mayor, which was destroyed...

I signed the Columbus Circle Compass petition.

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