laser scanning Archives - Infrastructure Digest

KS Associates Takes 3D Laser Scanner Underground to Help NEORSD Abate Combined Sewer Overflows to Lake Erie

The goal of this project was to replace a fatigued inflatable dam in the 96-inch sewer that collects combined sewer flow from northwest Cleveland. The inflatable dam is an important mechanism that stores upstream combined sewer flow, reducing CSO discharges in the collection system before the flow is transported to a nearby wastewater treatment plant. NEORSD decided to remove the inflatable dam and replace it with a more efficient hydraulic sluice gate. The District hired URS Corporation to perform design services.

Laser scanning offered several benefits over conventional surveying methods. According to Mark A. Yeager, P.S., KS Associates Director of Surveying Services, “For safety reasons, surveyors could only enter the sewer during dry weather flows. Once we had our window of opportunity, accessing an active sewer five stories below ground posed safety challenges and required specialized confined-space procedures. Our priority was to measure the entire junction chamber and obtain the geometry that URS needed in as little time as possible. Using 3D laser scanning, we successfully gathered all the data and more — in one trip. Manually obtaining these details would have required more time at the project site and would have been more physically challenging.”

Why should you read this? As laser scanning becomes less ‘gee-whiz’ and more ‘ho-hum’, more and more uses are becoming obvious. Might your sewer network benefit from some scanning? Informed Infrastructure, September 2014

Pix4D Mapper

“Pix4D Mapper is the software I’m writing about here. This insanely cool program will import images from any camera, along with GPS coordinates and external point clouds. Without much input from the user, it will create a complete 3D model. The model can then be exported as a 2D orthomosaic image, a 3D digital terrain model (DTM), or a 3D point cloud. That’s almost three products in one.

Here’s my take on the product just from talking to Pix4D about it and experimenting myself. (Full hands-on test projects are forthcoming here in print, and Pix3D’s test project is on”

Why should you read this? Well, you could use a $90,000 laser scanner to create your 3D model… or your iPhone. It’s not that simple, of course, but not every model needs to be high-res, and this approach does work. Of course, we’ll probably have scanning apps in our smartphones before too long… XYHT, December 2014

Generating BIM Under Pressure

“Built in 1963, the 350,000-square-foot facility has already seen its share of additions and upgrades with multiple wings built onto the original structure. With each expansion, new or enhanced mechanical systems have been installed to meet the growing requirements for air conditioning, heat, water, and electricity. As a result, the mechanical rooms—five in the basement and two upstairs—are jammed with pumps, valves, conduits, and pipe runs. “In the past 50 years, there have been so many changes to those rooms that the original design drawings are useless to us,”” Good overview of laser scanning in complex plant environment with no as-builts.  Professional Surveyor, August 2012

Scanning London’s Olympic Stadium

“Designing a structure such as the Olympic Stadium to be built from prefabricated components—when the shape of the structure itself depends on the stage of its construction—presents a problem not only for the designers but also for the surveyors monitoring the construction. Any construction process using components that are prefabricated off site requires careful dimensional control of the mating surfaces.” Heh, they said ‘mating surfaces.’ On the one hand, another scanning article, albeit a good one. On the other hand, Olympics! Professional Surveyor Magazine, August 2012

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