3D Scanning for Historic Preservation – How metrology works to save history

Untitled-1API and New River Kinematics teamed up this past month for a historic preservation project at St. Luke’s Church and Museum in Smithfield, VA. Together, they provided a full building 3D scan and collected point cloud data to keep record for the church and its ongoing restoration.

Using metrology and 3D laser scanning in historic preservation in Virginia

“For nearly four centuries, Historic St. Luke’s Church has persevered through war, destruction, misuse and abandonment, witnessing the great events of our nation’s history (www.historiclukes.org)”. This historic landmark is known to host the oldest Gothic Architecture in America, dating back to the 1600’s. Today, tourists from all over the country come to learn about its history, marvel at the architecture and pay respect to those who were buried in the cemetery. St. Luke’s offers church services to the public and still hosts events and weddings.

API provided a full 3D laser scan of the church; both interior and exterior in just a few hours. By teaming up the most advanced laser tracker and 3D laser scanner, the new SMART Scanning process, provided the most accurate and efficient process in the industry to date! API has proven the SMART Scanning 3D scanning process to reduce time, reduce costs, provide documentation on measurement uncertainty and positively impact any going processes.

Prior to the scan, St. Luke’s board members voiced their concern that they felt the front tower was slightly leaning. As a result of the 3D scan; API collected data to show that the structure was in fact not leaning instead the elevation of the ground was not level; giving the illusion that the tower was leaning. The structure appears to have been well preserved over the years with the normal wear associated with this type of building.

All of the data collected by the scanning devices were placed into instrument interface software by New River Kinematics, called SpatialAnalyzer®. This unique component allows API to work with multiple instruments at once, which gives the SMART Scanning process a huge competitive advantage over any one else in the industry. Once the data and software have integrated, the results created a digital frame of reference. This allows API and New River Kinematics to revisit the church and tie back in using key points of reference for future structure analysis.

Metrology and 3D laser scanning used in historic preservation

For projects, like the church, having accurate structure measurement data, allows the church to continue its preservation efforts and keep the original integrity of the building. API and New River Kinematics plans to revisit the church in the future to compare scans and assist in its historic preservation.