Friday, July 16, 2010

Society for Industrlal Archeology Event

Evening speaker: Richard Anderson

Topic: Applications of Digital Images to CAD in Industrial Archeology

Location: Historic Central Building, downtown Oakland

In some cases sets of historic photographs of IA sites can be “mined” for dimensional data for use in 2D and 3D CAD modeling, an application of digital techniques to old images that can be very productive. The site plan for the Irondale Furnace complex in Birmingham, Alabama was recovered this way, for purposes of archeological site management, protection and interpretation to the public. This presentation will focus on how the CAD modeling, historic photographs and basic site dimensions taken in the field were used to arrive at a fairly accurate digital recreation of the principal furnace structures.

Often dimensional information about an industrial archeology site is as significant to document as the site’s visual appearance or business and technical history. Properly taken, photographs can yield dimensional data for reports and drawings or kept in archival storage for later information retrieval. Digital imaging presents many more opportunities than film for taking and adjusting images for extracting dimensions, particularly in drawings, whether the drawings are done by hand or in a CAD system. Some steps can apply to scans of film or photographic prints as well. A few basic post-processing steps produce images that can be traced or used to supplement or substitute for drawings. There are basic techniques for setting up camera equipment for rectified photographs that aren’t difficult or expensive. If you are aware of the kinds of distortions produced by photography then you can compensate for them.

Richard is in town helping to document the Wapama steam schooner and will talk a bit about the work he’s doing on that project.

About our speaker: Educated as an architect, Richard Anderson took a job with HAER in 1978 as a temporary career hoping to buy a little time while he refined his goals. HAER suited Richard well so he stayed till 1989. In addition to conducting numerous field projects for HAER and occasional private clients and museums, he rewrote the HAER field manual and wrote the HAER Guidelines for Recording Historic Ships, both still in use. Since beginning work as a private consultant he has finished projects for numerous museums and government agencies, ranging from traditional HAER documentation to mapping projects, digitizing historic drawings and writing occasional site histories. He served as SIA’s national secretary from 1995 to 2010. Richard can be reached via e-mail at or at 803-983-5088. His web site is .

For More information: RSVP to Tony Meadow or call him at 510-334-8161 (cell).

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