Fly-through of Historic Carlsbad Caverns Stairs

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A team from the HDP office, consisting of HABS architect Mark Schara, HAER architect Jeremy Mauro, HABS historian Lisa Davidson, and HAER photographer Jet Lowe, traveled to Carlsbad, New Mexico, 29-31 January, to document the historic stairs in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Beginning in 1925, the newly-established park undertook the construction of a system of wooden staircasess in order to enable visitor access to the caverns. Within a decade, however, the park had begun the construction of a sequence of paved paths and switchback ramps as a more pedestrian-amenable replacement to the stairs, which were subsequently abandoned and eventually, for the most part, removed. The six flights of stairs documented by the HDP team, located on the east side of Iceberg Rock, are the last surviving portion of the original stair system.

Over the years the high humidity level in the caverns (close to 100%) has fostered the growth of mold on the stairs. The mold has caused the wood members to deteriorate, to the point that the stairs are no longer safe and have been condemned. Following the completion of the HABS documentation project, the stairs will be demolished. The project was sponsored by Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

This fly-through of the Carlsbad Caverns stairs is comprised of multiple individual scan stations using an HDR Pano Photo textured point cloud rendered in Pointools. The fly-through video animation was produced by Jeremy Mauro, HAER Architect.

This video does not contain sound.

The Heritage Documentation Programs administers HABS (Historic American Buildings Survey), the Federal Government’s oldest preservation program, and companion programs HAER (Historic American Engineering Record) and HALS (Historic American Landscapes Survey). Documentation produced through the programs constitutes the nation’s largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation.

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HABS Fly-through of Historic Main Hospital Buildings at Ellis Island, New York

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This animated fly-through of the Main Hospital Buildings is comprised of data from more than 180 individual laser scan stations, combined and textured with HDR panoramic photograph data. The rendering of more than 1.7 billion data points was done using Pointools point cloud animation software.

During the summer 2014, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) produced documentation of the historic Ellis Island Hospital complex at Ellis Island, New York. The documentation consisted of measured drawings, large-format photographs and a historical report for the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection in the Library of Congress. HABS utilized a high-definition laser scanner, in addition to hand-drawn field notes, and hand-measuring to obtain information needed to produce existing conditions measured drawings of the hospital. This short animation shows the 3-D point cloud model produced from the laser scanner data.

Ellis Island is an interlocking series of three mostly man-made islands in New York Harbor. It was home to the preeminent U.S. Immigration Station from 1892 to 1954. The original natural island was expanded to become Island 1, which holds the Main Immigration Building and was the primary site of immigration inspection and processing. In the first decade of the 20th century, Islands 2 and 3 were created to house U.S. Public Health Service hospitals. Originally the three islands were only connected via a narrow strip of land or a wood gangway on the northwest, with basins for ferry docking separating the Immigration Station and the hospital complexes. A significant amount of Ellis Island’s land is covered in large-scale buildings, making the buildings themselves one of the primary landscape features.

See photographs of the HABS documentation team working in the Hospital Complex at

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This video was produced by HABS Architect Paul Davidson and contains no spoken word.

The video is best viewed in HD or at a high resolution setting. To change the viewing setting on YouTube, click on the “gear” icon at the bottom of the viewing window and adjust the resolution to a higher setting.

HABS Fly-through of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Juneau, Alaska

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St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1893 in Juneau, Alaska. It is the second oldest surviving Russian Orthodox church in the state, and the only octagonal example. Although constructed twenty –six years after Secretary of State William H. Seward facilitated the US purchase of Alaska from Russia, the church can be seen as closely related to the period of Russian colonization (1741-1867). St. Nicholas Church was built soon after Juneau was founded (1880) and remains one of the oldest structures in the city. According to tradition, the construction of ST. Nicholas was a joint effort of local Tlingit Indians and Serbian miners.

The documentation of St. Nicholas was the result of a collaboration between NPS Alaska Regional Office, ROSSIA Inc. (Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska) and Heritage Documentation Programs. The church and rectory were documented using laser scanning, panoramic photography, and hand measuring in July 2013. HDP architects Mark Schara and Jeremy Mauro completed the documentation in partnership with Grant Crosby, Historical Architect, NPS Alaska Regional Office. The flythrough was created by Jeremy Mauro using pointcloud data captured in the field with a Leica C10 laser scanner. The pointcloud was colored with high dynamic range photography. The structure’s relatively small footprint and plain exterior belies the spaciousness and ornamentation of the interior. Of particular note is the iconostas, which was fabricated in Russia in 1893 and shipped across the Pacific to Juneau. Most of the furniture was removed from the interior during the scanning and photography to allow for better coverage of the architectural elements.

See the rest of the HABS documentation of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in the HABS/HAER/HALS Collection at the Library of Congress at

This video contains no spoken word.

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