Using augmented reality to recreate battlegrounds and historic sites?

Bill Grubbs

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Geo mapping could be used to accurately locate unmapped earthworks. It would be nice if topological maps could be incorporated also. I know there are some geo mapped trails out there but I can't find any at the moment. I could ask at the park. Anyway, this would help preserve what remains.
Evidentally, Atlant's defences are preserved on old maps.
Also, when I-75 was constructed in Atlanta, the old Armory was found and contained hoards of muskets and other items. I'm told the contractor took possession of it all.
I'll try to find out how to get into geo mapping but it may be too technical for me.

Have a nice day.
 

Waterloo50

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I thought augmented reality was a common thing, it’s being used at quite a few historic sites throughout the world, historic sites like the pyramids, Stonehenge and quite a few places in London use AR, in London they had to build in a safety device because people were blindly walking into busy roads whilst staring into their tablets.
 
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A. Roy

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Geo mapping could be used to accurately locate unmapped earthworks. It would be nice if topological maps could be incorporated also.

Not sure whether this is the kind of thing you're thinking of as geo-mapping, but one of the projects I've been working on is to locate the 1863 earthworks on the modern landscape here in Raleigh, NC. (It was a 4-5 mile ring around the entire city at the time.) The engineer who designed and built them drew a good map that still exists, and locations of some houses, buildings, etc. haven't changed since the war, which provides anchor points for taking off the map onto the ground today. I've made a Google Maps version of the 1863 original, which is interactive in that you can zoom in on any portion and see explanations and photos taken along the track of the entrenchments. But I wonder whether you mean something more sophisticated by the term geo-mapping? Here's a link to the current version of the map:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=18wH-6qk3Uuwp6Lj3qWudsWGYiLY3Qae0&usp=sharing
Roy B.
 

Bill Grubbs

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Not sure whether this is the kind of thing you're thinking of as geo-mapping, but one of the projects I've been working on is to locate the 1863 earthworks on the modern landscape here in Raleigh, NC. (It was a 4-5 mile ring around the entire city at the time.) The engineer who designed and built them drew a good map that still exists, and locations of some houses, buildings, etc. haven't changed since the war, which provides anchor points for taking off the map onto the ground today. I've made a Google Maps version of the 1863 original, which is interactive in that you can zoom in on any portion and see explanations and photos taken along the track of the entrenchments. But I wonder whether you mean something more sophisticated by the term geo-mapping? Here's a link to the current version of the map:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=18wH-6qk3Uuwp6Lj3qWudsWGYiLY3Qae0&usp=sharing
Roy B.

That's a nice map and a lot of digging back in the day. One could do map layers using Photoshop or GIMP. I'm not good at either.
I'm just scratching the surface on this geo mapping stuff. I'll see if my phone camera has a geo locating setting that will combine the lat and long with the image. Most phones can probably do this.
Some have made reproduction earthworks. Have you heard of Shoupades? http://www.starforts.com/shoupade.html
 

A. Roy

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Some have made reproduction earthworks. Have you heard of Shoupades?

An interesting shape. What you might call a "lunette." I'm guessing these were connected by entrenchments? It's really cool that someone had the remnants of one of these in their side yard -- and not at all cool that it was going to be razed to build more houses! Here's an example of a similar form here at Raleigh, from the 1863 Henry T. Guion map:

Lunette_Raleigh_Guion.png


Roy B.
 

Bill Grubbs

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An interesting shape. What you might call a "lunette." I'm guessing these were connected by entrenchments? It's really cool that someone had the remnants of one of these in their side yard -- and not at all cool that it was going to be razed to build more houses! Here's an example of a similar form here at Raleigh, from the 1863 Henry T. Guion map:

View attachment 375192

Roy B.

Nice map! I enjoy looking at these kinds of things. A "lunette" would be more of a half moon shaped defense (as far as I know).
 

A. Roy

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A "lunette" would be more of a half moon shaped defense (as far as I know).

I think that originally a lunette was a half-moon shape, as you say. Later it changed more toward the shape of the shoupade in that article. Here's a shot from DH Mahan's "A Treatise on Field Fortification" (1836), which was a standard text at West Point during the time many Civil War officers were trained there. You can see why I compared it to the shape of the shoupade (taken from Plate #1, p 12):

IMG_20200920_204016.jpg


Here's how Mahan described the lunette as it was know in his day. He refers to the redan, so I'm including the text about that as well:

RedanLunette_MahanP12.png


So the shape of the lunette and the shoupade seem similar to me. The salient of the shoupade seems sharper, and the flanks shorter. Plus maybe the shoupade was defined by more specific construction specifications: "Shoupades were essentially three log walls with dirt strategically packed inside." (http://www.starforts.com/shoupade.html)

Here's another intriguing thing I noticed from the article. The shoupades are connected by palisade fortifications in a cremaillere (zigzag) formation. Artillery redans are positioned at the rear angles:

ShoupadeLine.jpg


Another interesting thing is that the model of the shoupade in the article shows no provision for artillery, which I think must mean it was only intended for small arms. I'm guessing the idea was that a small force of well-protected defenders could direct musket fire in any direction from this salient position.

This is a fascinating find, and it's great that several examples still exist. I wonder whether @NFB22 knows about this detail of Johnston's River Line. He has written most of the posts at the Forgotten Forts & Places Forum, and knows a great deal about fortifications.

https://civilwartalk.com/forums/forgotten-forts-places.167/
Roy B.
 

NFB22

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25 years ago, one of my children had a book with pictures of ancient sites as they appear now, and each page had a plastic sheet with a picture filling in the missing details and covering the modern intrusions. I guess you'd call that the analog version... It was cool though.

I had a book like this back in my younger days. Had modern photos of famous battlefields like Alesia, Hastings, Waterloo, Gettysburg, Normandy, Khe Sanh, etc and then had overlays that showed the landscape when the battle was conducted. Not sure if it's in some box in my parents attic these days because it's not in my library.

https://www.biblio.com/book/battlef...vrS56TI4f9KIFVH4aCBxPrIRJMM0lW7BoClFgQAvD_BwE
 

Bill Grubbs

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Anyway, @Bill Grubbs, I guess we got off-topic from augmented reality, didn't we? I just saw a piece about an AR Gettysburg mobile app that looks interesting:

https://vrscout.com/news/mixed-reality-gettysburg-ar-app-ios/
This quick video includes some clips from the app, and comments from one of the actors involved:


Roy B.
@A. Roy
I did get us off topic and I apologize. That vide clip is nice! I like what they've done. I'll be looking at some more of those videos. I have to download them at night to watch later. I'll check out the link also. The technology is looking to be way beyond my talents at this time.

I subscribed to QuantumERA. It looks like they are just getting started. Good things to come https://quantumera.com/

BG
 
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A. Roy

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I did get us off topic and I apologize.

No, my fault, too. I got excited by a fort configuration I hadn't seen before!

I subscribed to QuantumERA. It looks like they are just getting started.

When I get a chance, I think I'm going to try their Gettysburg app to see what they're doing with this idea.

Actually, though, I can imagine an augmented reality implementation along a less sophisticated line, but still interesting: Using 3D modeling to create reconstructions of Civil War fortifications that could be viewed on a mobile phone or tablet. The reconstructions wouldn't have to be super-sophisticated, just good enough so that you could walk around a historic site and see the locations and shapes of historic structures on today's landscape.

Roy B.
 

jrweaver

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Dec 9, 2020
Today on its Facebook page, the American Battlefield Trust posted an interesting video of an augmented reality (AR) application that imposes a Civil War battle scene onto the modern landscape:
I'm wondering whether folks here are seeing this kind of effort being done to recreate battlegrounds and historic sites, especially in areas where preservation is difficult. I've been working on a book about the ring of CW defenses that was built here in Raleigh NC. Practically nothing remains today, but the engineer's map still exists, and it's possible to use that to trace the track of the entrenchments. The city is developing fast, which will likely make historic preservation difficult. But what if it were possible to create an augmented-reality model of the fortifications, so that you could walk around the city with your phone or tablet, and see where the redans and entrenchments were, and what they looked like?

I'd be interested in knowing what others have heard about this idea, and especially what kinds of applications might exist for developing this kind of AR presentation.

I've also just read about an effort like this in Charleston, SC:

"Students from Clemson University and the College of Charleston will use ground penetrating radar in downtown Charleston’s Marion Square to find exactly where the fortification called the Hornwork was built, the American Battlefield Trust said...

"The work by students over February and March will be used to create an augmented reality program that allows visitors to see the Hornwork, Jim Lighthizer, president of the American Battlefield Trust, said in a statement."

Roy B.

As an example, here is a screen shot from the American Battlefield Trust's video. What they've manage to do is to superimpose an animated battle scene on the modern-day remains of the battlefield (plus some modern-day guy who managed to insert himself into the video). What I would propose doing in Raleigh is less ambitious -- simply to overlay something like CAD (computer-aided drawing) images over a map of the modern-day landscape, to show where the fortifications were and what they basically looked like. And I suggest this, not just for the Raleigh project, but for any location where there is a desire to educate people about the Civil War history of the area. The implementation doesn't have to be as sophisticated as this type of animation.

View attachment 347923

Roy B.
I did the simpler thing of overlaying modern aerial images with engineering drawings in a couple of places where the locations of historic fabric were not obvious. At Fort Adams, Newport, RI, I recreated the line of the covert way, then physically climbed around the area trying to find remnants. I did the same, quite successfully, at Fort Hancock on the Sandy Hook of New Jersey. Simply for demonstration purposes, and for signage, I overlaid the dual-moat design of Fort Pike, defenses of New Orleans, over the existing landscape.

Pike Overlay 1.jpg
 

A. Roy

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At Fort Adams, Newport, RI, I recreated the line of the covert way, then physically climbed around the area trying to find remnants. I did the same, quite successfully, at Fort Hancock on the Sandy Hook of New Jersey. Simply for demonstration purposes, and for signage, I overlaid the dual-moat design of Fort Pike, defenses of New Orleans, over the existing landscape.

Interesting. Did you make this publicly available somehow, so visitors could use it when they visited the sites?

For my project here in Raleigh, I did a kind of basic AR implementation using GoogleMyMaps. I took off the line of CW entrenchments from the 1863 engineer's survey and laid them out on the modern map, so you can follow the lines all around the city and see where you are using the GPS capability of a mobile phone. Here's a link to it:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=18wH-6qk3Uuwp6Lj3qWudsWGYiLY3Qae0&usp=sharing
This is kind of a preliminary effort -- think I could do better the second time around. I estimate it's accurate in most locations within about 100 feet.

Roy B.
 

jrweaver

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Interesting. Did you make this publicly available somehow, so visitors could use it when they visited the sites?

For my project here in Raleigh, I did a kind of basic AR implementation using GoogleMyMaps. I took off the line of CW entrenchments from the 1863 engineer's survey and laid them out on the modern map, so you can follow the lines all around the city and see where you are using the GPS capability of a mobile phone. Here's a link to it:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=18wH-6qk3Uuwp6Lj3qWudsWGYiLY3Qae0&usp=sharing
This is kind of a preliminary effort -- think I could do better the second time around. I estimate it's accurate in most locations within about 100 feet.

Roy B.
Yes! I used prints of the overlay for displays for the 200th Anniversary of the building of the fort. The fort is closed to the public, but I left the prints of all my graphics - I did about a dozen sign boards - with the Friends group so that they could use them any time the fort was opened. I still have all the digital files, of course, so if they can go the next step to permanent signs, I can provide the digital files to whomever creates them. The ones I created are photo prints mounted on Foamcore, then waterproofed with clear Contact paper. That's a technique I've used at other locations. Since I do all this as a volunteer, I have to keep the cost down and this seems to be a pretty good compromise between durability and cost.
I also used these pictures in the video that I created. I posted a copy of the video on the Web Site for the Friends group for their use in attempting to publicize the historical significance of the fort, and also posted it publicly. I've also posted a link on this site.
 
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