Raising Port Royal: A Geospatial Reconstruction of the 1692 City Through Integrated GIS and 3D Modeling
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In 1692, the British port of Port Royal, Jamaica was largely lost to the sea after an earthquake shook the city down to the seabed, devastating the town and leaving the coastline of the peninsula permanently changed. Prior to its sinking, Port Royal was a town of some 6,500 people, a hub of shipping and commerce for the British West Indies, and a stronghold for British privateering in the Caribbean Sea. After the earthquake, the peninsula on which Port Royal had been positioned was dramatically shrunk, and the major residential and economic centers of the city were lost to the water. This project endeavors to apply the archaeological information collected during excavations of the submerged city to a larger geospatial analysis of the area prior to sinking. The first portion of this project looks at using historical cartographic and archival data, along with contemporary bathymetry and satellite images to reconstruct the coast of peninsula supporting Port Royal in ESRI’s ArcGIS software. The second portion of this project focuses on the buildings excavated between 1981-1990, creating 3D digital models of the five buildings within the reconstruction of the Port Royal shoreline, and integrating them into the GIS model for comparative analysis. This is, to the researcher’s knowledge, the first attempt to virtually reconstruct the structures of Port Royal based on archival and excavation data, and will allow for an interactive mechanism through which one can explore the structures of the excavated section of Port Royal in a scalable, geographically realistic way.
Cohen, Chelsea Marin (2017). Raising Port Royal: A Geospatial Reconstruction of the 1692 City Through Integrated GIS and 3D Modeling. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from