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Castillo de San Marco, A Living History

Aerial View of Castillo de San Marcio
Aerial View of Castillo de San Marco

Recently SurvTech Solutions had the honor of working on what could be the most historic landmark in the state of Florida, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The iconic site is home to the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States, built over 23 years (imagine being that Project Manager!), from 1672 until 1695. The fort served as one of Spain's fortresses, designed around protecting the Spanish claim to the New World, as several countries jockeyed for positions during the European colonization of North America.

Several restoration and preservation projects have been completed on the site in recent years. SurvTech was asked to join a team that is responsible for maintenance on the seawall, protecting the site from erosion. Our role in this project was to provide a topographic survey of the seawall and the uplands leading from it, as well as a section of subaqueous terrain in the channel of the Matanzas River that borders the fort.

LiDAR Image of Castillo de San Marco
LiDAR Image of Castillo de San Marco

Due to the site's historical importance, SurvTech utilized various technologies to efficiently collect the data needed to generate the surface model while minimizing the disturbance of the site. For the uplands portion of the survey, the SUE department utilized ground penetrating radar to accurately locate underground features, traditional field survey teams used features that already existed as control points so no new foreign monumentation needed to be introduced, and drones were utilized to provide aerial imagery as well as a collection of LiDAR data to generate a detailed point cloud of the site that could be utilized for extracting elevations for creation of a highly accurate topographic display.

Having advanced technology has proven itself time and time again, not only from a time and efficiency aspect but also with regard to the preservation of the site. Utilizing advanced technology like drones and ground-penetrating radar allows us to obtain data without clearing vegetation or digging to expose features that exist below the surface. It also allows us to collect data much safer – rock jetties can be treacherous to traverse along, especially during low tide when many of the rocks closer to the water's edge are still very slippery. Those same jetties can be collected utilizing aerial LiDAR from a drone and not only make it so no one has to be placed in danger, but also the amount of data points collected via LiDAR ensures that the level of detail collected far surpasses anything that traditional survey methods would ever collect.

SurvTech Solutions takes great pride in the technology that we have at our disposal. From aerial applications to underground beneath the water and everything in between, we have a solution for your geospatial needs. As technology emerges we enjoy pushing the envelope, testing out firsthand to ensure that not only does the technology work, but also if it is something that benefits our clients by increasing safety and efficiency. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with your surveying and mapping needs!

Mark Bickel

UAV Department Manager



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