Lab Projects

Ybor City LiDAR

geoSpatial and Visual Analysis of a National Historic Landmark District

Point cloud of Ybor City

Colorized point cloud of historic casitas on N. 19th St, in Ybor City.

The five buildings on N. 19th St, between 8th and 9th in Tampa are the only surviving contiguous block of historic buildings in the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District, outside of the 7th Avenue strip. Several of the buildings are casitas, small residences that were provided to cigar factory workers from 1898-1920, when Tampa was known as “The Cigar Capital of the World.” These factory workers, often of Spanish, Italian, and Puerto Rican descent, immigrated to Tampa to work in Ybor City’s prosperous cigar industry. They lived with their families in small, wooden houses built with a long, narrow shotgun layout. The simple design of these casitas made use of narrow, urban lots and enabled developers to create a dense, walkable city. Today, these houses are recognized by preservationists for their historical significance as an important 19th century urban house type in the southern United States.

Point cloud of casitas

3D point cloud model of Ybor City casitas. 

 Due to their historical significance, the Ybor City casitas were relocated, rather than destroyed, during the widening of Interstate 4 in 2001. Four buildings, all constructed between 1901 and 1911, were painstakingly disassembled at N. 12th St and reassembled at N. 19th St. In their new location, they joined a pre-existing brick commercial building.

Study area on North 19th St, Ybor City

Aerial LiDAR image showing the study area on N. 19th St, with four relocated casitas on either side of a preexisting brick commercial buidling. 

A collaborative workshop led by Laura Harrison of USF Access 3D Lab and Steven Fernandez of the USF School of Public Affairs digitized the entire block of N. 19th St. between 8th and 9th avenue with Faro Focus . The workshop trained students in methods of 3D architectural documentation with terrestrial LiDAR scanners. Over the course of three weeks, students participated in data collection in the field, and data processing in the lab. The results include a high-resolution digital replica of Ybor City’s casitas, to aid in heritage preservation as well as a survey-grade, georeferenced map of the entire block, to use in future urban planning applications. 

Overview map derived from lidar of N. 19th St Casitas

Overview map of N. 19th St derived from terrestrial LiDAR.