A Tale of Three Rivers: Before the Dam

Choke Canyon Reservoir it is a Texas State Park and a popular fishing and birding spot for San Antonio and Corpus Christi tourists. The reservoir formed when the Texas Water Development Board approved the construction of the Choke Canyon Dam on the Frio River, a major tributary of the Nueces River. Three Rivers, named for the Frio, Nueces, and Atascosa rivers meeting, is home to the development office that manages the rivers. However, the 25,438 square acres of land weren’t always submerged. The Frio River once ran uncontested through the heart of the current reservoir. It’s not something you tend… Read more »


A Trace of History

Texas has a rich history that is largely undocumented, and where it is documented, it often fails to be widely distributed. One of the joys of our map scanning project is being able to glimpse into past persons and the actions and effects that center around them and their descendants. Many times a search leads to nothing more than a record of someones existence, but some times we identify that one doctor deciding to expand their medical services lead to over 100 years of medical service in rural South Texas.Dr. Charley Reagan made the decision around 1916 to expand his… Read more »


A Hundred Thousand

This past Friday Spatial {Query} Lab celebrated a major milestone, the cataloging of our 100,000th land record. The event celebrated the achievements of the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science and the Special Collections and Archives at Mary and Jeff Bell Library. Ron Brister, an original champion of the project, was honored with cataloging the latest land records, an index map of Corpus Christi from the 1940s. The event was well attended by Texas surveyors and the general public. Here at S{Q}L we are still in shock at how far this project has come, serving… Read more »


The Other Half

We’ve been quiet over at Spatial {Query} Lab, but we haven’t been standing still. We’re putting the finishing touches on the last of the Blucher Fieldbook Collection, starting transcription up on the second set of Blucher Indices, and are staged for the other half of the Blucher Job Folders. Plus, thanks to the hard work done by Special Collections at the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi Library, we will soon begin scanning the rolled maps in the Blucher Collection. What this means today is that every single surveyor and researcher with internet access now has access to… Read more »


Bolschwilley Estate’s Lesson in Declination

The Bolschwilley Estate is a set of tracts located in San Patricio County, Texas out of the De Hibernia Grant. Conrad Blucher surveyed these tracts back in April 1940 when the owner was considering subdividing their land. Right away we can see that those subdivisions did not pan through, and instead only a couple of larger subdivisions were made. Ed Saulter, our lead georectification tech, was served a quick refresher on magnetic declination as he researched how the due north-south and due east-west highways could have tilted so much. Thanks to NOAAs Historical Magnetic Declination viewer, he was able… Read more »


Mosquito Blood

On the 27th of February 1931, a Blucher Field crew surveying the Nueces Bay Shoreline came under attack. They were pinned down by the enemy, retreat no longer an option as they became surrounded. The enemy swarmed the land and skies around them, striking them with needle like projectiles. It was every surveyors biggest fear, mosquitoes. “There are 15 billion of them out here & all after me.” Fortunately, the Blucher crew prevailed after what we can only assume was a lifetime of enemy engagement and no reinforcements. By the time the dust had settled and the Blucher crew emerged… Read more »


What’s an atlas?

As surveyors, it is so easy to hear the word ‘map’ and have our mind go straight to boundary surveys and contour maps that we forget what the general population thinks of when they hear the word map; atlas. Of course an increasing number of my younger employees even know what an atlas is, with their fancy smart phones and on-board vehicle navigation systems. The point of the matter is, most people think about driving when they think about maps. Conrad Blucher saved many Texas Highway Maps throughout the years, and every time I see one I immediately look… Read more »


What is this?

As surveyors, proper field notes and documentation are a necessity to retain our status as a profession. We are held accountable to our work and evidence we create to support it. However, we are all subject to a case of the Monday’s every now and again. Usually we would just go back and correct our errors, but sometimes we just look at our work and say, “what is this?” Now I know what some of you are thinking, “that’s some greenhorn talk right there, I’m to good to make mistakes like that” (A salty surveyor), but even the greats make… Read more »


Back to Business

The Spatial {Query} Lab has survived the wrath of Hurricane Harvey. Some of us that were around after the storm were able to aid Port Aransas, which suffered devastating levels of destruction. As with any major event, recovery can seem impossible from the perspective of a single victim. However, when communities band together, the impossible tasks become possible once again. During our time volunteering in Port Aransas, we were able to assist 12 homes by completely emptying them, getting bare floors treated for mold and mildew, and begin the demolition process of removing sheet rock and wet insulation…. Read more »