PATTERNED GROUND: VISUALIZING THE DISTRIBUTION AND CONDITION OF COLD WAR NIKE MISSILE SITES IN THE UNITED STATES USING ARCGIS AND GOOGLE EARTH
Development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) made these facilities and their technology obsolete. Sites were abandoned, repurposed or redeveloped. Today, control sites (IFCs) are mostly unrecognizable, although a few still have the towers that supported the Acquisition, Target Tracking and Missile Tracking radar units. By contrast, many of the nearly 300 launch sites themselves, with their complex in-ground concrete magazines, elevators, launch pads and distinct surface layout, are still recognizable in current satellite and aerial imagery. Using documented coordinates for the IFC and Launch facility sites, I created continental and detailed maps to visualize the distribution of these historic defensive sites. Using satellite imagery, recent orthophotos, LiDAR DEMs, historic aerial photos and topographic maps, comparisons reveal the changes to some of these sites over the past 50+ years. Some launch sites are completely obliterated, some are overgrown and others are intact and readily recognizable existing as distinctive patterns surrounded by housing developments, schools, athletic fields, woods or farm land.