I am interested in creating a 3D virtual model of a Civil War fort using ArcGIS v.10 and would like to explore the feasibilty of my ideas with those who have done similar modeling and expand on the scope of uses I see for this product.   The Union fort I’m working with, Nashville’s Fort Negley, is the largest inland masonry fort built during the Civil War.   The fort has three tiers, and my dream is to create a digital 3D representation of the structure to keep all the spatially-referenced information about the fort in one place including existing condition photos, repair records, archaeological excavations, and modifications to the site. When more spatially referenced data is obtained from the site, perhaps from geophysical prospection or more historic photos, I think a GIS would be the appropriate archive for storing and layering the information. I also want to recreate the 1864 engineering drawing of the fort that has relative elevations as a 3D object and compare it to a recent civil survey of the site, if that’s possible.  The reason for doing this is that the WPA reconstructed the fort in the 1930s to make a park, and we do not know where the original footprint of the fort lies.  The WPA records were lost, and the archaeology conducted at the site has not been able to answer this question. I can get LIDAR data for the site from the city and have seen it used to find entrenchments, but I’ve never worked with it and don’t know its limitations or if there is something better. The model I’m dreaming of would help interpret the site better while also being its “digital corporate memory.” Could this also be the base for building a virtual representation of the fort that could be explored online?  I should mention that the fort is owned by the city and is operated as a historical park. The park department’s budget is stressed, and their goal is keeping the park open.  For me, this project is for my research to develop the construction history of the fortification.

Thanks for reading!  Zada Law, Middle Tennessee State University