Moving Beyond the Frame: Geovisualization of Landscape Change Along the Southwestern Edge of Yosemite National Park

  • Jeffrey JenkinsEmail author
  • Adam Fleenor
  • Fisher Dietz


As part of the 1930s New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps funded a team of photographers to capture forest landscapes, including those in the Stanislaus National Forest and southwestern portion of Yosemite National Park. While initially, the program focused on assessing travel time, terrain challenges, and viewable area, the program went on to acquire expressly made Osborne Panoramic Cameras, which were used to take panoramic photos from fire towers and other potential lookout peaks. We utilized panoramic photos by Lester Moe, which are typical unidirectional panoramic images (360° x-axis) as the basis for this repeat photography project. Many of the human and natural features have changed in the intervening years, which present an added challenge for obtaining aligned photo sets. We utilized a combination of geovisualization technologies to capture, compare, and communicate imagery, including the Wide-Area Visualization Environment (WAVE) and omnidirectional “spherical projection” CaveCam (360° x- and y-axis). This workflow applies a novel technological approach to a common landscape photography method to overcome some of the challenges associated with repeatability and offer valuable additional high-resolution data.


Landscape change Repeat photography Sierra Nevada Wildland fire Spherical panoramas Stereo imagery 



Thank you to Emily Lin of the University Library for leading the digital curation process for the historic panoramic photographs. Thanks also to Donald Barclay of the University Library for his support with image acquisition. We would also like to acknowledge Paul Rogers from the Yosemite archives and the regional National Park Service staff for allowing us to access, digitize, and utilize this imagery. Furthermore, we thank Jeffrey Weekley for his support, ideas, and key technical insight at the Wide-Area Visualization Environment. Also, we are grateful for the efforts of Colby Anton who assisted with access to backcountry sites. And, special recognition goes to the legacy of Lester Moe, for without his original efforts, this repeat project would not have been possible.

Funding Information

The authors would like to acknowledge the University of California, Merced School of Engineering as a funding source and also recognize the University Library for its in-kind support with time needed for acquisition of materials.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author has no conflict of interest to report, neither from industry, the Park Service, or the UC.

Ethical Statements

The research conducted for this paper has been in full compliance with ethical standards of the University of California and permitted with the National Park Service. The research has been conducted in accordance with ethical standards of research set forth by the University of California, Merced.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

There were no human subjects or survey participants involved in this research and therefore no need or use of informed consent. Archival materials were utilized to acquire historic photos through permit agreement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management of Complex SystemsUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Humanities Graduate GroupUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA
  3. 3.Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA

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