Boundary & Topo / Construction

Setting the New York Wheel in Motion

Surveying and scanning by Control Point Associates Inc. lays groundwork for construction of Big Apple attraction

Imagine a breathtaking view of the New York City skyline. From more than 600 feet in the air, imagine the sight of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

That vision is possible thanks to the work of Control Point Associates Inc., a land surveying company in New Jersey that is helping make the New York Wheel a

Gregory Sawulski was the project manager at Control Point Associates Inc. for surveying and 3D scanning work performed for construction of the New York Wheel. (Photo courtesy of Control Point Associates Inc.)


Control Point Associates operates under the motto “traditional methods, modern approaches,” and the firm built on that credo as it partnered with Richard Marin, the president and CEO of the New York Wheel LLC, to aid in construction.

Plans for the New York Wheel call it a landmark attraction, according to its official website. The observation wheel will stand 630 feet high. Passengers will sit in one of 36 capsules, each with a capacity of 40, as the wheel turns on the northeastern shore of Staten Island in New York City.

“Richard contacted us at Control Point to establish a metes and bounds survey of the property,” said Gregory Sawulski, the project manager at Control Point Associates. “There was no establishment of boundaries before we were hired. Limited information from the city and public records has made this project very challenging.”

Control Point Associates used conventional ground surveying for preparation of a boundary and topographic survey, and the company also used a Leica ScanStation C10 and ScanStation P20 for 3D laser scanning.

There were challenges. The wheel is to be built on the same lot as the Richmond County Bank Ballpark. The stadium was built in 2008, but no survey records were produced.

“This has been a challenging project in many ways,” Marin said. “But a threshold issue was that despite the existence of the stadium in the middle of the parcel, there were no surveys or even metes and bounds available to us for our lot or adjacent areas.”

In addition, New York City owns the land where the wheel is to be constructed, and the lot contains several

The New York Wheel will stand more than 600 feet tall when it opens in 2016. (Photo courtesy of the New York Wheel)

complicated easements and other building restrictions. Control Point Associates had to work closely with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to create an easement with vertical limits for the wheel to have direct access from Richmond Terrace. Control Point captured this data by utilizing conventional surveying methods in addition to 3D laser scanning.

“Regardless of how complicated, we know we can provide Richard with all of the data his team will need to keep this project on track,” Sawulski said.

Control Point started its work in 2012 and continues to provide information to the design team. Construction on the New York Wheel is scheduled to begin this year, and it is slated to open Labor Day 2016. The Wheel hopes to attract as many as 30,000 people per day and 4 million visitors per year.

 “To be on Richard’s team for such a monumental project that will ultimately change the landscape of New York City and bring tourism and opportunity to the Borough of Staten Island has been an honor for Control Point,” Sawulski said. “We are looking forward to working with Richard and his team to see this move through city approvals, construction and ultimately the unveiling of the world’s largest observation wheel.”

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