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Manzanar War Relocation Center

Independence, CA

Project Square Footage

500 acres

Market Sector

Historic Preservation + Cultural Heritage, Civic + Government

Project Type

Cemetary, Memorial + Mortuary, Monument / Memorial, Historic Building

Year Completed


Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States government ordered the removal of Japanese Americans from the Pacific Coast. Over 110,000 men, women, and children were forced to leave their homes and relocate to military-style camps where they would be detained. Manzanar, located in Independence, California, is one of the ten relocation centers that were set up. About 10,000 people were confined in this area from 1942 to 1945.

The Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program was established by congress in order to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair and acquire the historic sites so that their stories are not forgotten and are shared through many generations in order to help prevent this type of violation of human and civil rights from being repeated.

The National Park Service (NPS) was interested in developing a program to document the Manzanar site’s existing conditions. Using 3D technologies for the digital preservation of the site would help to capture fragile remains and help tell a more complete story by virtually recreating the camp.

Architectural Resource Consultants (ARC) provided professional laser scanning and as-built services. Data for the digital preservation of the site was captured in 3D using laser scanners, GPS devices, and HDR photography. Specifically, ARC was responsible for the documentation of seven rock gardens, reconstructed buildings, a reservoir, the entrance, a chicken ranch, a reconstructed guard tower, and multiple concrete foundations.

The scanning and photography field work lasted about 5 days with a two-man scan crew and a two-man survey crew. ARC was able to accurately register the scan data and meet project requirements for coverage and resolution. Deliverables for this project included a survey control network closure report and map; a laser scanning targets summary report; and photo-textured and geo-referenced terrestrial LiDAR data.

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