Georges Island 3D model part work, part passion for Halifax man
Former historic re-enactor Robert Hyslop uses modern tools to recreate fortifications
The owner of an engineering survey company in Halifax has created an impressive three-dimensional interactive model of Georges Island that gives a bird's eye view of its fortifications, some that date back to 1798.
Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria, ordered the building of Fort Charlotte on the island to protect Halifax from a possible invasion by France.
But given Parks Canada restricts access and most people haven't explored the island for themselves, Robert Hyslop figured he'd create a way for them to visit a piece of this history, virtually.
"Mainly because there's no public access to it," he told CBC News. "You have to be lucky to be able to even visit it, but it played a significant role in the defence of Halifax for 200 years."
Hyslop photographed the island using a drone equipped with a high-resolution camera. He flew the drone on Feb. 26 from the Halifax waterfront, near the Nova Scotia Power headquarters.
The day was so clear and crisp that one of the 40 images he used to create his model is sharp enough that you can see the base of the island where it attaches to the harbour floor.
Hyslop flew over and around Georges Island a half dozen times to get the images he needed to properly process and render his 3D model. Rendering those images into the 3D model took an entire day.
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Hyslop has added five points of interest on his model, including the spot where anti-aircraft batteries were installed during the Second World War, and the stone wall where soldiers stationed on the island have their names carved.
The creation is part work, part passion.
Doing it allows his company, Azimuth Consulting Ltd., to further refine the work it does for its clients. The company maps or creates three-dimensional images for construction companies and developers to help them visualize their work.
On the personal side, it fuels Hyslop's passion for history and historical sites.
His father, Peter, was an avid re-enactor and passed on his love of history to his son and daughter, Gillian, who were often at his side during their time as members of the 84th of Foot 2nd Battalion Regimental Association.
"We used to dress up and just enjoy it," Hyslop said.
The family took part in re-enactments at historic sites, from Louisbourg on Cape Breton to Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal. The regiment the Hylop family spent a decade re-enacting were, at one point, stationed in Halifax and its soldiers would have served on Georges Island.
Hyslop is hoping to convince the city or the province to fund other similar projects, such as creating 3D models of other historical sites or mapping the variety of tunnels that snake under downtown Halifax.
He said that could be done relatively easily by deploying lidar technology, which uses a laser to scan and measure objects.
Hyslop considers this valuable historical information that may be lost as new buildings are constructed in the downtown.