October 30, 2005

Satellite Images

Google Earth is an application that maps satellite images over topographical data. I've been using it to find all the places involved in my research on the Ore Terminal, specifically:

- the Mexican terminal
- the Puerto Rico mine
- the ore terminal in BBNP itself
- the road leading away from the ore terminal

Not only has Google Earth recently become a free application, but it contains satellite photography of the northern part of Mexico, which Google Maps did not have for the longest time.

So, for the first, I'm able to see the terminal on the Mexican Side. Here it is:

Satellite image of embarkation terminal on Mexican Side.>

To see the terminal in wider context, here's a shot showing everything from the Puerto Rico mine to the Ore Terminal in Big Bend National Park. Note, the horseshoe looking part of the Rio Grande is Boquillas Canyon. Also, all shots are taken with North facing up.

Overview of tramway and mines.

You can upload these placemarks into your own copy of Google Earth. Here's the file.

Posted by Joelg at 12:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 18, 2005

Keyhole Image of Ore Terminal Terrain

Google has released a cool program called Keyhole, which maps USGS data to satellite imagery and allows you to travel the world, visually.

Here's an image from the program with a view from the start of the Ore Terminal Trail to the Ore Terminal.

I used the measuring tool to approximate the footprint of the tramway; the yellow line in the middle of the image is where the tramway went up the valley. Unfortunately, the data doesn't extend into Mexico, otherwise this would be an excellent tool to approximate where the embarkation terminal on the Mexican side is located. The scale doesn't do the terrain justice. This view is from an altitude of 6700 feet.

Posted by Joelg at 06:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2004

Sierra El Terminal

Sometimes, the obvious escapes me. I have found throughout this adventure of trying to piece together a story from historical documents and family stories, that time and again, an answer has been staring me in the face without me seeing it.

Now, I'm trying to put together maps to post to the website in order to make hiking easier as well as to put the tramway in context with the mine it served. Up until recently, I have not been able to find a map of the Mexican side. All USGS maps seemed to end at the border.

Fortunately, I recently bought a USGS map titled "Boquillas: Texas-Coahuila. 1:100 000-scale metric topographic map." Item #29102-A1-TM-100. 1984, Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. Amazon.com says it's out of print.

It's the first topographic map I've found that extends over to Mexico in this area. The Puerto Rico mine is located on the map! Now that I know where the map is, I can understand why the Puerto Rico mine owner's son had never heard of the tramway. By the time his dad had taken over the mine in 1928, they were using mule trains to haul the ore to the train at Quatro Cienegas. The terminal was five miles away and was probably over the side of a hill he never bothered to peer over.

While the Aerial Tramway is clearly marked on the US side, it's not on the Mexican side. But, if you extend the tramway's line on the map for the equivalent of 2 1/4, which is the distance covered on the Mexican side as noted in the February 1911 article, it ends right in the middle of a canyon and about 3/4 of mile away from a dirt road that ends at the line and goes to the Puerto Rico mine.

Then, it hit me. The mountains that appear just west of the aerial tramway line that I drew into Mexico are labled "Seirra El Terminal!" The Terminal Mountain Range!

Clearly, the mine and tramway were important to Boquillas, Coahuila if the name of the mountain range that's along side the Mexican portion of the tramway is named after the terminal. And now I have a good idea of where to look for the embarkation terminal, if I ever get over to Mexico. What was once mysteriaous is all so obvious, now that I have the map.

And all the while, my kids have been watching Dora the Explorer with them asking, "Who's the one you need to know if there's a place you need to go? Right, the map!" Simple.

Posted by Joelg at 10:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack