The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Digital Documentation and Interpretation Program

The Castillo de San Marcos (CASA) is a coastal fortification in St. Augustine, Florida that is the nation’s only extant 17th century military construction and the oldest masonry fortress in the United States. The site is among the most vulnerable of NPS units to the effects of weathering, erosion and climate, and is a highly visited National Park tourism location. The fort site is in the low-lying, vulnerable coastal zone in the city of St. Augustine (est. 1565), built to protect Spain’s claim to La Florida. The Castillo is of significant economic, cultural, and historic impact at state, national, and international levels.

The Castillo is made of fragile coquina, subject to weathering and surface deterioration once the fort’s outer plasters are diminished to reveal the soft structure. Rising sea levels and increased storm surge in St. Augustine, and threats from hurricanes and other weather events have contributed- along with the passing of time- to structural fractures, material breakdown salt intrusion, and foundational slumping.

In a grant partnership with the National Park Service and the Southeast Archeological Center (NPS SEAC), the Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections (DHHC – Collins and Doering PI), are working to digitally 3D document the entirety of the fort and environs, including the seawall and City Gate, and create preservation and management planning tools, education and outreach materials, and baseline monitoring and conservation information.

The DHHC team is using a suite of reality capture and 3D laser scanning and imaging tools to document fragile carvings and wall surface details, artifacts, and site features at the Castillo. These data are being used to develop educational and interpretation tools for use on-and-off-site, and for virtual and online sharing. The USF Libraries will serve as a digital collection archival repository for this important heritage preservation and documentation endeavor.

View our GIS interactive map here.

View our 3D models here.

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3D pointcloud from laser scan data

Exploring and documenting the world around us in 3D

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