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CalTrans Acquires Leica ScanStation C10 Scanners for Bay Bridge Construction

The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) now deploys five ScanStation C10 laser scanners from Leica GeoSystems in a variety of applications including load assessment on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's signature self-anchored suspension span.

Norcross, Ga., 17  April 2012 - The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) now operates five ScanStation C10 laser scanners from Leica Geosystems. Two were purchased outright, and three are upgrades from Leica ScanStation 2 scanners, used as trade ins. "The upgrade to the C10 was a natural for us, and we did it for all the classic reasons," said Thomas Taylor, PLS, CalTrans' Chief of Survey Coordination and New Technology, "It's a faster, lighter, and less bulky scanner, and it gets into places where the ScanStation 2 wouldn't fit." "The C10 is also safer for us," adds Senior Transportation Surveyor Kevin Akin, "By reducing the time that crews spend in marginal setup locations, we minimize exposure and increase the amount of projects that we can do safely."

Laser scanning is a fairly new technology at CalTrans, but is already seeing widespread adoption by the internal 'customers' at one of the world's largest survey and design entities. "We use scanning for all the classic projects, like profiles and digital terrain models," says Taylor, "But as word gets out, we're getting requests for a much greater variety of work." One example he cites is a request from an environmental department for scans of an area prior to changing the course of a river; the resulting data will be compared to future scans to assess project impact. "We're also being asked for forensic, hydraulic, and geotechnical surveying, and we're starting to get involved in asset management," says Taylor, "Really, faster, easier laser scanning is a game changer for us; it reminds of the period when RTK suddenly made GPS the right choice for a lot more projects."

ScanStation C10s are also being used on two of CalTrans' very highest profile projects, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge seismic safety reconstruction and the Presidio Parkway-both are high budget projects in iconic locations that have to please a very demanding public.

On the Bay Bridge project, scans of Yerba Buena Island were used for design work. And a Leica C10 is being used constantly as the bridge's signature self-anchored suspension span (SAS) is loaded with weight. "The construction plan calls for tightly controlled deformation under load stressing," Taylor explains, "So a crew is on call to scan as needed to verify that tolerances aren't being exceeded." And on the Presidio Parkway/Doyle Drive reconstruction, scans are being used to preserve historic structures and to complete design surveys safely in high-traffic areas. For more information, visit

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