Mt. Rushmore Digital Preservation Project Prepares for Initial Survey

by Elizabeth Lee
November 16, 2009
As part of the preparatory work for the Mt. Rushmore Digital Preservation project, this week I traveled to Rapid City South Dakota. The purpose of the trip was to meet with park staff as well as our local partners on the project Wyss and Associates and Respec Engineering to discuss the establishment of a park-wide survey control network. The control network will be put in place this fall and will be used throughout the laser scanning portion of the project this coming spring. The laser scanning portion of the project has been made possible through the generous contribution of Historic Scotland and the Glasgow School or Art, as part of the Scottish Ten project.

The control network survey is an integral part of any digital preservation project. Not only does it position the laser scans relative to each other, it also places the entire data set in a known plane of reference. This is essential for site monitoring and comparing different data sets over time. The control points established during this survey will be used for the laser scanning but they can also be used by the park on any number of upcoming projects and will allow for new data to be easily integrated with the 3D point clouds.

I met with the group at the park Wednesday morning, Veteran’s Day. Although the park is very quiet this time of year compared to the festivities on the 4th of July, it was still a very special place to spend Veteran’s Day. We spent the majority of our time together walking the park and identifying possible locations for control points. We will require many different points throughout the park, as the scanning will not only include the sculpture, but also many of the historic buildings and facilities throughout the park.

We had the opportunity to walk the Presidential Trail, access portions of the mountain, view the Sculptor’s Studio, and discuss the challenge of laser scanning the Avenue of Flags. I really enjoyed my time in the park, and especially enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time at some of the parks additional resources.

Having identified many critical points and developing a plan for the network, the survey work will begin in the next few weeks, weather permitting. Please check back for more information about the survey and the laser scanning as work progresses.

To read more about the project in the press see:

CyArk and Partners Featured in the New York Times

Rushmore Project Featured in UK Guardian

AOL News Features CyArk Mt. Rushmore Digital Preservation Project

CyArk Featured in USA Today
Touring the memorial with NPS, Wyss and Associates, and Respec Engineering
One of the possible scanning locations on the Washington Terrace
The sculpture as seen from the Avenue of Flags