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San Juan National Historic Site Photo Project


Part of a National Park Service (NPS) project to stabilize and restore the fortification walls within the San Juan National Historic Site focuses on treating the deterioration of the exterior stucco layer. In many areas of the fortifications the outer stucco layer is eroding or completely gone. To determine the areas and extent of deterioration Jack Boucher of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) was asked to reproduce the large-format photography of the walls from the precise vantage points he had used in documenting the walls and forts in 1960. In that survey photographs were taken of the forts El Morro, San Cristobal and El Canuelo and their related features. It was hoped that photographs from different periods would not only show where the deterioration was occurring, but also alleviate concerns over the actual need for the re-stuccoing.

Jack returned to San Juan on June 25, 1998 and re-photographed the site, completing the survey on July 7, 1998. Copies of the 1960 photos, as well as prints taken in the 1940's and earlier, were used as guides. Before the survey the photographs were labeled with a number and then roughly located on site drawings.

In an effort to record the camera location for future monitoring it was decided that the Cultural Resources Geographic Information Services would record this information using global positioning system (GPS) technology for use in a geographic information system (GIS). During the photographic survey a GPS position and attribute data was recorded at the camera position; a feature called a 'photo point'. The collected data was viewed and edited daily and exported as an ArcView ™ Shapefile format using Trimble Pathfinder Office ™ 2.0 software.

Other data within the project includes line shapefiles representing the fortifications and City Walls within the San Juan National Historic site, a portion of the waterline around Old San Jaun, and buildings, roads, road traces, and parking areas within Old San Juan. This data has been included as reference and contextual data.