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Creation of a Digital Archive of Historical Aerial Photographs for Everglades National Park and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem

photo of a channel through mangroves
Project Investigators: Thomas J. Smith III, Ann M. Foster, John W. Jones

Project Personnel: Alisa Coffin, Kelly Watkins, K. M. Capobianco

Project Start Date: 2003 End Date: 2004


The objective of the project is to translate Everglades National Park aerial photo archives into digital format.

A foundation for Everglades restoration must include a clear understanding of the pre-drainage south Florida landscape. Knowledge of the spatial organization and structure of pre-drainage landscape communities such as mangrove forests, marshes, sloughs, wet prairies, and pinelands, is essential to provide potential endpoints, restoration goals and performance measures to gauge restoration success Information contained in historical aerial photographs of the Everglades can aid in this endeavor.

The earliest known aerial photographs, from the mid to late 1920s, resulted in the production of T-Sheets (Topographic Sheets) for the coasts and shorelines of south Florida. The T-Sheets are remarkably detailed, delineating features such as, shorelines, ponds, and waterways, in addition to the position of the boundary between differing vegetation communities. If followed through time changes in the position of these ecotones could potentially be used to judge effects of changes in the landscape of the Everglades ecosystem, providing a standard by which restoration success can be ascertained.

Participants at a recent "Performance Measure Workshop," sponsored by Everglades National Park, realized the importance of translating the Park's aerial photo archives into digital format. The value they represent to the Greater Everglades research community for developing a pre-drainage baseline is great.

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Script last updated: 23 October 2018 @ 12:03 PM by THF. Record creator: BJM. Record last updated by: LJT.