Field Work Begins

Sorry about the delay in posts. I am currently finishing up some writing on another project so I was away from Cliff-related work for a few days.

One of last year’s students, Roger, instructing one of this year’s students, Traci, in the fine points of Total Station survey. Off in the distance you can see the survey rod in the rail road bed. From this point and others like it on the bed, we were able to map both to the left and right further into the woods.

Yesterday, we finally got started on field work. One of our grad students, Roger (a returnee from last year) is working on a thesis project centered on the Clifton townsite. Similar to my work in 2010 when I mapped the industrial core of the mine, Roger is interested in mapping the townsite. For anyone who has been to Clifton, you know that it is a swampy, buggy, difficult place to work it. So in order to get started on Roger’s mapping, we needed to get going on laying in a grid system of control points from which he can digitally map details like walls, structures, roadways, and other features. In order to lay in the grid, most of the crew had to clear brush and tree limbs in order to create clear sight lines between the Total Station measuring equipment and the survey rod. We started with a straight line down the old rail road bed and then began branching off to the north and south. Think of a row of X’s where the center of the X is one control point and the four ends are 4 control points building off that center one. For each new X in the row, the left-hand side of control points become the right-hand side of the next X. You can then continue building this grid into a lattice-work of control points that allows you to fill in the gaps (of triangle spaces) with details.

Its interesting work constructing the grid. Lots of geometry, problem solving, and creativity come into play in the swamp and woods of Clifton.


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

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