Fort Pulaski and the Cockspur Island Lighthouse Heritage Documentation Program

Cockspur Island separates the North and South channels of the Savannah River and is the site of Fort Pulaski National Monument. The Cockspur Island Lighthouse Reservation is a one-acre alluvial deposit that, along with oyster shells, mussels, and marsh grass, creates a small islet that is located approximately 750 feet east of the southeast corner of its namesake’s island. Since mid-19th century, this small piece of land has been used in a navigational system that guided maritime traffic the 18 miles between the Atlantic Ocean and the Port of Savannah. The intact tower became part of the Fort Pulaski National Monument in 1959, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and managed today by the National Park Service.

Today, the site faces many pressures, including Climate Change and sea level rise, increased tropical storm and hurricane intensities, channelization and shipping impacts, natural weathering, and impacts from unauthorized access.

Our efforts involved substantial collaboration with the National Park Service to digitally document using 3D laser scanning, imaging and geospatial survey means, the entirety of the lighthouse structure and environs. Updated measured drawings, deformation and change analysis, sectional profiles and terrain elevation mapping, and structural fabric recordation and condition assessments of the structure were included in our project scope. Our holistic record of the structure will be used as comparative and foundational survey information, and has direct benefits for interpretation and educational outreach through our library digital collections and online project development. As part of our scope of efforts, we additionally created a webGIS for the lighthouse and Fort Pulaski area, serving as a platform for GIS data organization and display into the future.

View our Lighthouse 3D model here.

View our webGIS platform here.

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In Depth

Perspective image of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia

Exploring and documenting the world around us in 3D

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