Prehistoric GIS

Little known fact: prior to the Computer Age brains had to serve as our GIS and cartographic outputs were penned. In this collection we have thousands of historic maps and plats. For the most part they are boundary and topographic surveys at large scales (high detail, small area for those that have forgotten). Not to detract from the amount of work that went into these project, but they cannot compete with the complexity of most geoprocesses used in a quality geographic information system. That is why today I would like to present to you what I am calling ‘the oldest… Read more »


Spatial Fascination

Maps. Chances are if you’re on this site, you have some form of love for maps. Maps are these beautiful spatial interpretations that connect peoples and cultures alike. Whether it’s a geopolitical conversion of countries into perceived animals or a pocket map often found in the real-estate classifieds, maps have connected us one way or another. French & Haberer was a civil engineering firm in the Nueces County area in the early 1900’s that produced many of the maps and plats used by real-estate companies to advertise the beautiful cities and towns of South Texas. The French & Haberer Handy Pocket… Read more »


Give me a break

No matter what your profession is, every now and again we all just need a break. Back in 1924 surveyors weren’t able to escape reality by checking their Facebook notifications or calling friends or family on their cellphones. Instead, they created game boards on the backs of their preliminary plats! This simple pleasure serves as both a reminder of simpler times and a continued connection to humans across the ages. My only question to Mr. Blucher would be; what’d the client say when you turned in a plat with a chess board painted on the back?


Planning for the future of Corpus Christi – Find of the Week

Infrastructure and urban planning are often hot-topics in Corpus Christi. Any survey of the local population could tell you which streets have been in disrepair for decades and which ones seem to get torn up for reconstruction right after they’ve been reconstructed. We’re talking about you McArdle. Back in 1942 when Conrad M. Blucher was asked to conduct a survey across Nueces Bay for the proposed Sinclair Prairie Refining Company pipeline, he had the foresight to include plans for a channel that would be needed in the future when the local oil refineries increased production. This kind of future planning… Read more »


Land For Sale – Find of the Week

This week we are featuring an advertisement for “Large Beautiful Lots” for sale in Corpus Christi. The ad, from 1927, features a map showing the lots that were for sale. The lots ranged in price from $119 to $399 and could be paid off with $1 weekly payments! We  found it very interesting to see how much land you could buy in 1927 for less than $400.


Crosstown Expressway – Find of the Week

This week we are featuring a series of  six maps that show the right-of-way for a portion of  State Highway 286, known as the Crosstown Expressway, in Corpus Christi, Texas.  State Highway 286 has been designated on it’s current path from downtown Corpus Christi to Chapman Ranch since 1939. The six right-of -way maps shown below have a range of dates from October 1961 to May 1963. The final photo shows each of the six maps georeferenced to the ground locations of each map. Click on a map to expand it for a more detailed view. We found it very interesting to see… Read more »


113 Years of Shoreline Change – Find of the Week

This week we are featuring a unique map that shows the shoreline of two barrier islands changing over the span of 113 years, from 1848 to 1961. The map extent covers a small portion of Padre Island and Mustang Island and uses different types of lines to indicate the shoreline location for a specific year. The years featured on this map are 1848, 1855, 1902, 1937, 1941, 1945, and 1961. Although only seven specific years are indicated on this map, the range of time is what makes this a very impressive and valuable find.