Upcoming Features of BandoCat

We have been hard at work preparing to kick off three new initiatives in the {Map Scanning} project: Georectification of scanned maps Transcription of map indices Spatial search of scanned documents In order to get these initiatives off the ground, we needed to develop some new capabilities of BandoCat (BandoCat is our internally-developed map cataloging software). So, we have developed a new georectification tool, a new transcription tool, and a new spatial search tool. All three of these tools work within BandoCat and will soon be deployed to the S{Q}L staff so they can enrich the scanned documents with geospatial… Read more »

“Also Wet” – Find of the Week

Take a moment to imagine yourself in various everyday scenarios like watching a movie, eating a cookie, going to work, or even mowing the lawn… Now re-imagine each scenario and add in the feeling of being cold and wet. Even the most wonderful scenarios you may have envisioned could be ruined by poor weather.

On December 12, 1946, a plainly miserable surveyor wrote

“Colder Then hell, Also wet”

at the top of his field book page. The normally neat handwriting looks rushed and really gives a sense of how uncomfortable the author must have been. According to the National Weather Service, the… Read more »

Field Book Sketches – Find of the Week

Although field books are typically filled with technical sketches of the property being surveyed, surveyors would occasionally draw other things in their field books. Sketches of the landscapes or buildings can often be found in the Blucher Collection field books. This particular page shows a few sketches between additional notes and calculations. The sketch on the left side of the page depicts pajamas air drying on top of surveying stakes. The sketch on the right side of the page is titled “Mud Flats Farm” and is dated October 25, 1918.   As was mentioned in our very Read more »

One map made of three sheets of paper – Find of the Week

Often when people hear the word “map” they imagine a large rectangular piece of paper with the United States of America drawn in bright colors. Or perhaps, a person might think of using an internet browser to look up directions from one place to another. In most cases, however, people usually think of maps of fitting within a square or rectangle. Our third “Find of the Week” demonstrates how a map does not always fit inside of a rectangular piece of paper. This map, titled “Map of Portland Texas in San Patricio County”, is from the Green Maps Collection and… Read more »

Scorching Hot Temperatures – Find of the Week

This week we are featuring a couple of pages from our Field Book collection. These pages are from the summer of 1937 and report the shocking temperature of 120° in the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. The temperature for each day can be seen at the upper right corner of the page. Keeping track of the weather and temperature during a survey was very important because the length of the steel tape used for measurements could vary with temperature changes. The page dated June 11, 1937, even has two temperatures recorded for different times of the day.

First Find of the Week

Each week our {Map Scanning} team scans and catalogs hundreds and sometimes thousands of maps documents. Although the enormity of the project can at times seem overwhelming, our workers press forward and always keep an eye out for interesting or unique documents to share with coworkers. The {Map Scanning} team has always shared fun finds between themselves and now our workers would like to share with you. Each week a new “Find of the Week” will be featured on the blog. Our first “Find of the Week” is an itemized list of food. Surveyors would often spend several days… Read more »

Field Books

If you ever have a chance to visit Corpus Christi’s Mary and Jeff Bell Library Special Collections and Archives Department and you look at the shelf that holds over 500 Field Books, you might think each book looks exactly the same. However, since our staff began scanning these Field Books in January 2016, many interesting discoveries have been found between the pages. In some cases, the book itself is interesting, such as Field Book 55 which features a rooster motif.

This Field Book contained a pressed flower that is over 100 years old.

 … Read more »

Rare 1853 Texas map acquired by Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

The Corpus Christi Caller Times wrote a story on a rare 1853 map of Texas by Jacob de Cordova that was acquired by Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. The map is in fantastic condition for its age. You can read the article at: http://www.caller.com/news/education/local/rare-map-obtained-by-am-cc-in-string-of-coincidences-3036c733-67bc-047b-e053-0100007fed76-376807461.html As we continue to work through scanning maps from our {Map Scanning} Project, I hope we can turn up a map of this caliber. We do have a few noteable Texas maps in our collection already, such as the map of the Santa Gertrudis Estate (of King Ranch fame), and we hope to have more… Read more »

S{Q}L Showcases Work at 2016 Spring Texas Map Society Meeting

The Spatial {Query} Lab showcased its {Map Scanning} work at the 2016 Texas Map Society Spring Meeting held on the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi campus April 2nd. Dr. Smith presented with Ann Hodges and Audrey Garza of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library about the Conrad Blucher Map Collection, how the parts work together, and the past, present, and future of the {Map Scanning} project. Bryan Gillis, Lillian Reitz, and Son Nguyen presented about the details of the {Map Scanning} project, such as our scanning procedures, scanning hardware, and custom software. Of particular note was… Read more »

A Map Transfer in Pictures

Ever wonder what a map transfer between S{Q}L and the Mary and Jeff Bell Library looks like? You are in luck. During our last map transfer, the Library photographer took pictures and I have selected a few to share. What is a map transfer? When we have completed scanning and cataloging the large-format maps and job folders, we have to transport them back to the Library and retrieve the next set. This involves a van, one Library personnel, and at least four S{Q}L workers to complete. Read more »