San Antonio Missions, USA


Spanish colonial missions in Texas

Expedition Overview
In the spring of 2010, CyArk collaborated with the National Park Service and Los Compadres, now known as Mission Heritage Partners, to digitally preserve San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. CyArk partnered with Critigen, a geospatial consulting company which used laser scanning and digital photography to document the missions. The 3D data was used by site managers for the continued preservation of the missions as well as the creation of interactive educational materials. The documentation was also used to inform the sites' application for inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List, to which it was successfully inscribed in 2015.
History of the Missions
Located along the San Antonio River in central Texas, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park encompasses four 18th-century Spanish Colonial missions, the largest single collection of Spanish missions in the United States. The missions were designed to be defensive residences and were centered around grand churches and convents. The elaborate façades were designed in Spanish Colonial, Late Baroque, Moorish, Renaissance and Romanesque architectural styles.
Mission Concepción Frescos
Mission Concepción is the northernmost of the San Antonio Missions and is located along the east bank of the San Antonio River. Dedicated in 1755, the structure is the oldest unrestored stone church in the United States. The interior of the church contains the greatest concentration of frescoed wall art of all the four missions and was restored in 1988. To produce the frescos, pigment was applied to wet lime plaster, as the plaster dried it hardened and the colors became permanent. Four distinct colors can be found on mission churches: yellow and red from ochre found in clay and sandstone, black from carbon and blue from the indigo plant. 

CyArk created a variety of conservation drawings including sections and elevations for the ongoing preservation of the site. Further, virtual tours and web models were also created for site promotion.

Summary of Data Captured

This project resulted in the following data which is now freely available for non-commercial use.

Areas with LiDAR documentation are indicated in grey.

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Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:


Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions

National Park Service

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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