University Creates Map Campus with 3D Laser Scanner

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The department of Maps and Records will soon finish drafting and laser scanning the Main Quad this summer. The Main Quad is a project that began earlier within the year, which is to be used in updating the Stanford Campus Base Map, which is a geographic system based on the web that will be used in finding information about campus buildings and lands.

Galen Schmidt and Rob Donzanti, facilities engineers are the ones responsible for the scanning task. The FARO 3D laser scanner will be used in collecting the data. Meanwhile, the device spins around as it shoots lasers and collects 200 million points. After which, the scanner will report the color intensity and distance of the points, and then the device re-spins to shoot the color photography. The final product would be full-colored, 3-dimensional scans.

Previously, Maps and Records made use of a surveyor in collecting one point at a time before it switched to the FARO scanner. The process was tedious, collecting the same data as the laser scanner; hence, the engineers consumed more time, while another kind of data collection method they used involved aerial photography. CAD Services and Field Operations manager Jay Marianowits, said the photography was generally accurate, however, often problematic because the trees can hide paths and buildings.

The previous summer, the Escondido Village was also drafted by the department through the laser scanning method, which n had been updated with new paths recently. However, the traditional aerial photography and surveying method proved to be difficult. The area was amongst the initial reasons why Maps and Records began using the laser scanning method.

Marianowits said they were able to go in, considering the same accuracy that a surveyor can, while collecting everything at the same time. The scans can be used further than updating the Base Map in the near future. Marianowits also said that another group made use of the data from Escondido, prior to a construction project, enabling them to see and locate certain trees. Marianowits explained that they were able to stock the data without returning to the site at all.

Marianowits added that the ongoing Main Quad drafting is not bad, although not great either, noting the instance when they had to show the buildings’ outlines and not the columns within the arcades. A more accurate map will help throughout the event planning in the area, Marianowits said, helping event crews in setting up large tents and so on.

He claimed that they’ve got the data about what the area really looks like, a survey-quality data, eliminating the employment of a surveyor or going back to the area again.

Victoria Knecht, a field engineer is the one responsible for the drafting and scan processing, saying that the nearly a quarter of the drafting has been accomplished so far. While the Quad scanning process is almost done, the drafting process will be completed before the summer season ends.

Finally, the department is not restraining the scanning methods to the Escondido Village and the Main Quad as they have been scanning other areas of the campus. Amongst the recently finished scans include the new Central Energy Facility and Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, and eventually, all areas of the campus will be drafted and scanned through the technology.

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With over twenty years of experience in the field of journalism, Daniel Johnson is the ideal man to write for USA News. He has delved in all sorts of journalism, be it crime, politics, investigative, environmental or human rights journalism, he has a discerning view of them all. Currently, he is a Washington correspondent and his area of expertise is international development, environment and corporate regulation. Other than the US, he has a wealth of experience which he has gathered from different countries which he has visited in the Southeast Asia region and in the African regions. He has also worked as a part time radio reporter.

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