LiDAR images available upon request (LiDAR = Light Detection And Ranging) Submitted by John DeLano

Most of northern Rensselaer County has been imaged by New York State and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) using airborne LiDAR technology that provides ground-resolutions of 3 to 5 feet.  LiDAR equipment is carried by an aircraft flying a systematic pattern over a designated area.  The bank of lasers on-board the aircraft sends thousands of low-energy pulses per second toward the ground, and the time for each pulse to return to the aircraft (about 4/100,000th of one second) is accurately measured.  The result is an information-rich image of the ground, even in areas that are heavily wooded (since many of the laser pulses are able to travel between the leaves to reach the ground and return to the aircraft).  When the original LiDAR images are processed with the required software, they can reveal abandoned roads, foot trails, old stone walls, land contours, old foundations, and other subtle features.  Each LiDAR image covers an area of 1 square mile.  

As an example of the kind of results that are available, these two figures show an area (about half of a mile across) that Prof. Delano has been studying at Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire.  The first image from ‘Google Earth’ shows tree-lined fields with wooded areas on the left and right sides of the image.  The second is LiDAR image of the same area showing the 18th century stone walls defining the edges of the fields that are conspicuous in the first image, as well as other features on the ground that are hidden from view in the first image by the wooded areas.

If you are interested in receiving similar information showing your area, especially if it is in a rural setting with extensive wooded areas, Prof. John Delano would provide you with images and additional information without cost.  Please contact him by e-mail ( with the location of interest to you.  The images and accompanying information would be sent to you either as a large (4 Mb) e-mail attachment or as a printed copy using U.S. mail.  While this information is provided free-of-charge, donations to the Brunswick Historical Society are always welcome.

Rensselaerwyck land surveys (East Manor) Submitted by John Delano

Eleven (11) CDs containing images of the original land surveys from the 1790’s of Brunswick (previously known as Elizabethtown ) have been donated to the Brunswick Historical Society.  Additional 1790’s land surveys are also available for Grafton (previously known as Roxborough ), eastern Poestenkill (portion of what was known as Middletown ), Petersburgh, Pittstown, Berlin, and Stephentown.  The images of these exquisite, hand-written surveys (mostly by Evert Van Alen, John E. Van Alen, and Job Gilbert) were acquired by Prof. John Delano while doing research at the New York State Archives during the last several years.   

To determine the owner of your land in the 1790’s, please visit the Brunswick Historical Society to view the beautiful map showing all of the 1790 properties and owners in Brunswick (portion of that map is shown below).  On that map, you can quickly find the area where your home is located.  By determining the 1790’s owner of that parcel of land, you will now be able to quickly locate and view the 1790’s land survey of that parcel.  The 1790’s land surveys not only recorded the magnetic compass directions and lengths of every boundary (in chains and links: 1 chain = 66 feet; 100 links per chain), but also the surveyor’s drawing of the property boundaries, a description of the soil conditions, and kinds of trees in the 1790’s

These CDs are available for use at the Brunswick Historical Society at 605 Brunswick Road (Corner of Moonlawn Road) in Brunswick at the following times: Wednesdays at 1:00-3:00 PM; and Saturdays at 10:00-3:00.