Day 1: Monday, May 10, 2010Rain and shipment delays made for a slow start to the project. The team came together for a morning briefing and everyone had a chance to introduce themselves. After an overview of the project, safety and security messages, and a discussion about scanning logistics, the team took a break and began getting outfitted with climbing harnesses and other mountain safety equipment.
The shipments of laser scanning equipment from Scotland were delayed in customs and finally arrived in the afternoon. Most of the afternoon was spent sorting through the boxes and testing the scanning stations. Since the rain continued to pour, the team began setting up the scanning equipment in the historic Sculptor's Studio to run tests and begin scanning. It was a good day to sort equipment and get the plan squared away as the team waited for the weather.
Day 2: Tuesday, May 11, 2010A break in the heavy fog allowed the Mount Rushmore technical ropes team to begin hauling equipment to the top of the mountain. The ropes team uses a highline system from the top of Theodore Roosevelt's head to the base of the mountain for transporting equipment and materials to the top of the mountain.
Once the equipment was on top of the mountain, the scanning team was able to begin preliminary scans of the Halls of Records that is located behind the sculpture. Snowy and cold conditions required them to stop before they completed the entire scan. Weather conditions will dictate when they will be able to go back up to complete the Hall of Records and begin scanning the sculpture.
While the scanning team was up on the mountain, Michael Harvey from Leica Geosystems HDS began scanning the interior of the historic Sculptor's Studio. Leica manufactures the scanning stations that the team is using for the project and Michael is here this week to see how the stations are doing in this type of complex project.
Day 3: Wednesday, May 12, 2010Mount Rushmore received 5-8 inches of snow which has slowed down the project. The team used the day to discuss logistics and to get a more detailed schedule in place for when we have better weather. Michael Harvey from Leica Geosystems HDS was able to finish the scan of the interior of the historic Sculptor's Studio and team members are working on processing that data.
Day 4: Thursday, May 13, 2010As the team waited for the snow to melt, the morning was spent scouting good spots for scanning targets around the Presidential Trail and along the Talus Slope. The team found some excellent spots that will be visible to the scanners on the top of the mountain. The target positions will allow the team to achieve very high accuracy while reducing the need to place targets on the sculpture itself.
A customized scanning tripod that will be used on the sculpture arrived today as well. Larry Hermanson from Hermanson Engineering in Rapid City constructed the tripod, with input and development from Cyark and Historic Scotland. The team was able to practice with the tripod on the ground before we begin using it on the sculpture. Using the tripod will take all of the expertise from the technical ropes team and the scanning specialists from Historic Scotland.
Ben Kacyra, the founding Director of Kacyra Family Foundation and Cyark, was also onsite to see how the project is going. Through his company, Cyra technologies, Ben brought the first commercial laser scanner to the market. The same technology is what we are using to document cultural heritage today.
Day 5: Friday, May 14, 2010Today was a beautiful day for the project. The Mount Rushmore technical ropes team was able to access the sculpture and begin placing targets for the scanners. The targets will be used as reference points for all of the different scans that will be captured from the sculpture as well as from the Presidential Trail. The targets will allow the team to merge the different scans into one, highly accurate data set.
Other members of the team were spread out throughout the park to begin scanning. A scanning team began scanning Washington and Lincoln's heads from the perspective of the Presidential Trail. The initial data that was coming in was quite impressive and is a good indication as to the quality of details that we will be getting from this data.
Day 6: Saturday, May 15, 2010Today the team encountered more rain and cold conditions. The mountain scanning team was able to make it up to the Hall of Records and complete more scans inside the Hall as well as outside in the canyon between the Hall of Records and the sculpture. These scans are important to help create a complete image of the whole mountain so that the park can show visitors the location relationship between the Hall of Records and the sculpture.
The ground scanning team was also able to place more reference targets along the Presidential Trail so that they can begin scanning the talus slope and the sculpture once the weather becomes nice. Initial scans from these areas are revealing positive results from data received from scanning up to the front of the faces.
Day 7: Sunday, May 16, 2010Today started out beautifully and the team was able to hike to the top of the mountain and begin scanning the top of the sculpture. Scans were made from the top of the Hall of Records looking out onto the top of the sculptural heads and scans were also taken from behind George Washington.
The ground scanning crew also had a good morning as they finished one scanning perspective off of the Heritage Village and began setting up another scanning perspective when the weather turned. Rain stopped the project shortly before noon. The team was able to place more targets around the park during the rain, including reference targets around the fireplaces of Borglum's first studio.
Day 8: Monday, May 17, 2010The scanning team came off of the mountain with huge smiles on their faces after an extremely successful day of scanning. The mountain scanning team scanned from the top of all four heads and finished the scanning of the Hall of Records canyon. The park service technical ropes team was able to have some sculpture time with the new scanning tripod. The tripod was custom made for the project and will allow the team to scan directly on the faces.
The ground scanning team was able to finish several scans from the Heritage Village area of the park and move on to another scanning location off of the Presidential Trail. They worked until dark to take advantage of the nice weather.
Another beautiful day helped to create another productive day of scanning. The park welcomed members from the local press to come and view the project. The media day was a great chance for the local press to meet all of the participating organizations of the scanning team and get a better understanding of the capabilities of the digital data.
Last updated: April 17, 2017