Constructing a Digital Land Record System

After five years of research, academics, and transitioning from Marine Corps writing styles to technical writing styles, Bryan Gillis has finally completed his thesis titled Constructing a Digital Land Record System. Check out the recording below to view the presentation. This thesis is founded on the research conducted as part of the {Map Scanning} project over the past five years. The ability to provide the public with access to digital land records is fundamental in a free market. BandoCat provides stakeholders, such as County Clerks, access to software and procedures to make this a reality. BandoCat is open-sourced and… Read more »


A Sea of Maps: A Collaborative Project with the Conrad Blucher Institute

Written by Shelby Gonzalez

Every morning the lights of the Archives Workroom come on at 8:00 am, and every morning the first thing (or should I say things) that greet me as I walk in are land surveying records. Not just a few, not just a couple hundred, but thousands of maps waiting to be processed, preserved and prepared for digitization.

As Library Specialist II, in the Special Collections and Archives department, my job is to serve as point of contact with the Conrad Blucher Institute on a massive map digitization project. Responsibilities include conducting appropriate… Read more »


New Horizons

The Spatial {Query} Lab’s software development team has been re-imagined with the return of the Map Scanning Veteran, Son Nguyen. For the first time in two years S{Q}L has a true software development team working on a multiple projects. Classic projects like BandoCat have paved the way for new works like Cardinal, which takes data management a step forward to aid survey companies in managing data and individual job tasks. A Cardinal sandbox-demo is set to release next week. Sam Allred, the most recent programming lead on BandoCat, is working on Weather… Read more »


Medio Creek and the Cart War of 1857

From Student Researcher William Alexander; Creeks and rivers are major landmarks in our maps. They hold particular interest for surveyors; they are some of the most common natural monuments used as boundaries for properties. Although rivers meander over time, and are thus unsuitable points for georectification, they are still very helpful for helping to place a map in the real world, especially when they intersect with a road or another river. In this article’s map, our most notable landmarks are where Highway 181 crosses over Medio Creek, and where San Domingo Creek converges with Medio Creek a little northwest of… Read more »


City Map of Beeville, 1947

From Student Researcher William Alexander; Today’s map is of the city of Beeville, which is the center of the Pennyfenner collection. The majority of our documents come from the offices of Fenner, Whalen, and Penney, who were all the County Surveyors for Bee County, headquartered in Beeville. We archivists have gotten very familiar with the city; I think I’m almost to the point of knowing its street names and layout better than that of my home town (of course, my hometown doesn’t have a Star Trek Dr next to Sunkist Dr, so maybe the issue is with memorability). This city… Read more »


Hix Green Ranch

From William Alexander, Student Research Assistant: Presenting today is a map that was a tough nut to crack. Titled “Partition Plat of the Hix Green 1041.53 Acre Ranch” by Chas. Klumpp, Jr., the only other relevant spatial information stated was De Witt County, Texas. It was almost chucked in the bin, but we noticed that the map dates from 1974. 44 years isn’t so large a gap in this gig; for us, its about as modern as these maps get. So we googled “Hix Green Ranch” on a lark to see if it was still around, and lo and behold,… Read more »


A Fresh Look

While cataloging maps as a freshman undergraduate research assistant, Stevie Hinojosa recognized the area he was cataloging. For the first time, he came across a historic map of his hometown of Aransas Pass. The map showed a proposed right-of-way project by the Texas Department of Transportation in 1979. Stevie was intrigued by by the map and how different the road networks were from today. Stevie is studying Geographic Information Science at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Spatial {Query} Lab at Conrad Blucher Institute.


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 »