Groundbreaking James River mapping journey nears completion

August 18, 2014 · 1 minute read
The boat landing at Reedy Creek's confluence with the James River.

The boat landing at Reedy Creek’s confluence with the James River.

It’s been over a month since my last post about RichmondOutside and’s effort to create the first-ever surface-level, 360-degree image map of an entire river — the mighty James. At the last update, Ross Milby and Mike Harris were piloting the custom pontoon raft about 60 miles upstream of Richmond in the Cartersville area. (If you’re unfamiliar, click here and here to read more about the journey. And here to follow it on Twitter.)

Well, we’re not done yet, but we’re getting closer, and I’ve got some sweet screen shots to share of our progress. Ross and Mike gave way to Ryan Abrahamsen and I at Watkins Landing. We took the mapping vessel from there to Huguenot Flatwater in one day (the portage around Bosher’s Dam was beastly) and from Huguenot Flatwater to Reedy Creek in another. We’ve also spent a number of days on the tidal James, and we’re closing in on Norfolk along the north bank. Doing this in day trips has proven more logistically challenging than expected, but we’re getting it done slowly but surely. Of course, we’ve got to come back and finish Richmond’s famous falls, including Hollywood and Pipeline rapids, but that will likely happen once the tidal James is complete.

Looking back upstream after passing under the famed Atlantic Coastline Railroad bridge.

Looking back upstream after passing under the famed Atlantic Coastline Railroad bridge.

What does all this mean? It means in a month you’ll be able to go on, and, in October, the James River Association’s site and experience the James River in a way that currently doesn’t exist for any body of water anywhere. You’ll be able to choose any section of the 340-mile river from Irongate to the Chesapeake Bay and see what it’s like there — pan around in all directions, move up and down the river, etc. Never seen the James where it passes through Lynchburg? Go check it out. Want to know what the river is like in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Jamestown. Soon you’ll be able to see for yourself.

These pictures should give you a sense of the final product.