Precidio Park and the Serra Museum. Photo courtesy of San Diego Historical Center

Photo of Presidio Park and the Serra Museum courtesy of the San Diego History Center.

Ask a native San Diegan about the Presidio, and you’ll get a variety of responses.

Old Town? The first mission? The white castle on the hill overlooking where I-5 and I-8 meet? (Hint: None are actually correct.)

The Presidio Visualization Project is aiming to change that, giving San Diego and beyond a view of exactly what the Presidio was like in 1790 by bringing the archaeology and architecture of early California to life in vivid virtual reality.

This is not the Presidio you learned about in elementary school, if you learned about it at all. Charged by the San Diego History Center and San Diego’s own city historian, a team of volunteers coordinated by 4D Science is studying the exploration of excavation of the site on which the Presidio was built in the late 1700s but fell into ruins shortly afterward and is now entombed in the heart of Presidio Park. The result will be a first-of-its-kind virtual reality view of the site.

Precidio Visualization Project MeetingThe cutting edge project is designed to be a catalyst for conversation, something that will evolve over time. Teams right now are focusing on the artifacts of the time, the architecture and the topography. Volunteers are focusing on GIS surveying, 3D mesh scanning, texture mapping and research.

Special thanks to the San Diego History Center, the office of Mayor Kevin Falconer, UC San Diego, University of San Diego, High Tech High International and the dozens of volunteers working to make this project possible. The project will debut in late summer 2017.

To follow the Presidio Visualization Project, like 4D Science on Facebook.

To volunteer, email

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