A RASCL (Remote Assessment & Survey of Cultural Landscapes) provides a framework for conducting assessments of cultural landscapes using free and publicly-accessible tools: Google Earth Pro, historical imagery, and a fillable PDF survey form.
A RASCL is an adaptation of two methods: the windshield survey that is typically used to inventory historic buildings, and the aerial survey used by archaeologists and natural resource managers to assess sites. A RASCL involves the comparison of historical plans to contemporary aerial imagery. A remote survey can cover a large geographic area in a short time, and is tailored to the scale and orientation of landscape-based resources. This can overcome hurdles to cultural landscape preservation, which include a lack of available staff, resources, and time. RASCL is a cursory method that requires little investment, yet creates a foundational point of departure for future work.
As a case study, the status of the Olmsted legacy in Connecticut, which includes more than 300 designed landscapes, was assessed remotely. Connecticut was chosen as the site for a case study because of the online availability of digitized archival plans from the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site on Flickr, and in recognition of the upcoming bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s birth in Hartford, CT in 2022. Any survey method for cultural resources or historic properties should be standardized. With that in mind, each property was located and assessed methodically and consistently. This project culminated in the development of the RASCL method, an adaptable survey form, and a guide and instructions – all available below. These materials are intended to allow professionals, students, and volunteers to conduct remote surveys.
Provided here for download are:
- The RASCL survey form
- A guide to completing the RASCL survey form
- An instructional guide for the RASCL method
- Two examples of completed RASCL survey forms: one for an extant property, and one for a property that is no longer extant
- A zip file that contains all of the above