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Leica Geosystems' Laser Scanners used by International Team to Complete First-Ever 3D Survey of Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The first ever 3D survey of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial has been successfully completed by CyArk using Leica scanners and software.

(Norcross, Ga., 19 July 2010) Leica Geosystems announced that the first ever 3D survey of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial has been successfully completed using its scanners and software. The work was preformed by CyArk, a non-profit organization whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites by laser scanning, digital modeling, and other state-of-the-art technologies, in partnership with the National Park Service, Historic Scotland, and the Glasgow School of Art. 

Leica Geosystems was the provider of laser scanning technology for the project. In all, five Leica Geosystems scanners were used, simultaneously, by three different teams. "This was the most complex project ever undertaken by CyArk, " says Project Manager Justin Barton, "Three different Leica Geosystems laser scanners were used: the ScanStation 2, the HDS6100, and the ScanStation C10. Each model was strategically placed within the site to take advantage of individual strengths. For example, the robust long-range capabilities of the ScanStation 2 were used along the base of the mountain, the unsurpassed speed of the 6100 was used for very dense data capture of facial details and the surrounding canyon, and the impressive range and speed of the C10 made it the workhorse atop the mountain for large-scale scans of the sculpture.

"In all, billions of millimetrically-accurate points were captured, along with more than 7,000 photographs. Data from all scanners was processed by Leica's Cyclone software, in a command center that managed over ten terabytes of hard drive space. Data was compiled and registered continuously, to ensure that no vital areas were missed and that field teams had up-to-date data when planning each day's work. Cyclone was also used to present point cloud data to visitors and park officials during the two weeks the teams were on site.

"We believe our portfolio of scanning hardware and software is the most powerful and versatile scanning solution now available," said Michael Harvey, Product Marketing Manager – Scanning at Leica Geosystems, "The Mount Rushmore project, which generated massive amounts of precise data in a short time frame, is a good example of what our tools can accomplish."

"Thanks to the efforts of all team members, the project was a huge success," says CyArk Director of Projects and Development, Elizabeth Lee, "In spite of snow and rain, well over 200 scans were collected in two-week period on site. This digital record of the sculpture and park grounds will serve the ongoing preservation efforts of the National Park Service, and the 3D content created from the scan data will be used to create interactive virtual models of the monument, including virtual tours of the entire site and 3D educational games."

"We are very grateful for the support and expertise that Leica Geosystems contributed to this project," says Lee, "We had a limited time to operate, extreme weather during the project, and we had scanners placed on the vertical faces of the memorial, sometimes deployed upside-down or in exposed situations. The equipment never failed, and the support we received was priceless."

The Rushmore project is part of the CyArk 500 initiative, a global effort to digitally preserve 500 of the world's most important heritage sites. Leica Geosystems is proud to be part of this important effort to preserve the world's most important historic sites.

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