Monday, May 27, 2013

Pic of the Day: Fort Point CAD project

I got tired of sorting through and tagging all the pics I took in San Francisco. Decided to draw Fort Point instead.

This little fort's the only one of its type on the West Coast, commenced in 1853 and still under construction when the South's little tantrum began in 1861. Its closest brush with battle at the time was when a Southern ship captain headed toward the Golden Gate only to learn from a passing British ship in August 1865 that he'd missed the war entirely.

Wasn't there a "Gilligan's Island" episode based on that?

Anyway, I went all the way to San Francisco planning to visit the fort and some of the batteries nearby. Saw Alcatraz, Coit Tower, that big red bridge (can't remember what it's called...smaller than I'd expected) and some other stuff, and Fort Point.

Very nice parking lot. Smallish. Fence was kind of rusty. Barbed wire was a nice touch. Closed except on weekends.

This was a Monday. Heh.

At least the National Park Service had their scheduling make more sense than the rubes in Louisiana who made Fort Pike open only on weekdays. Their fence was prettier.

Still, I got close enough to Fort Point to touch and get some pictures. Well, actually only six out of 20 were of the fort. The rest are scenery from the fort. Turns out those six pics did help a little, but not as much as oh, say, actually being in the fort and loading my camera card up.

Here at home I did a good bit of Google-Fu, grabbed a couple hundred megs' worth of photos, and found 3D Virtual Design Technology's website. The company uses laser scanning and surveying to build a computer model of a structure for restoration or renovation (for example).

On the one hand I'd love to have a laser scanning system. Saves a lot of time I'd otherwise use in taking measurements manually. All the hard work's done. But I can't really see myself settling for that. I'd miss out on spending hours just wandering from spot to spot, taking detail photos and sketching, learning about the place. I don't want to miss out on that by making things quicker.

Besides, I've learned so much about how these old forts were built by studying them that when I'm stumped on a project there's at least one other fort I've been to that has some similar structures.

Armed with the plans I found at 3DVDT and a couple of Historic Structure Reports put together by the National Park Service, I ended up with this:

Took five days and two scrapped attempts. The 3DVDT pics don't have enough resolution to make out dimensions and the Structure Reports don't have any technical drawings, but one of them has a writeup of the fort's condition and includes enough measurements that I was able to throw out the second (and horribly inaccurate) version and start again.

Between these, all those photos and the drawing I did of Fort Jefferson (which has some similarities), I'm more than happy with the result. Six "Third System" (1820-1867) forts in CAD...only 36 more to go according to FortWiki.

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