Project Update: Mt. Rushmore

Previewing the initial results from the Mt. Rushmore Digital Preservation Project

by Scott Lee
December 2, 2010
By this time, many are familiar with the story of our field collection efforts at Mt. Rushmore. After meticulously sorting through and editing 2.5 weeks of field data the CyArk team and our partners at CDDV are ready to offer a glimpse of our progress. Some of these materials, including the animation were first publicly presented at the Leica conference where Elizabeth Lee (CyArk) and Douglas Pritchard (CDDV) delivered the keynote. For those of you not at the event, this is the first opportunity to see the initial results on the CyArk website.

With the control network setup and terabytes of information safely backed up on several hard drives we began by registering the data. The Monument alone had 93 scans and that comprised of over 1.3 billion points for a resolution of 4mm. Of these 93 scans, 13 were captured with the Rig. The rest of the park grounds (131 scans) have been registered and are in the final stages of phototexturing with the HDR panoramic images. The park grounds and subsequent buildings are comprised of approximately 2 biliion points bringing the projects total to over 3 billion points. As you might expect that is a lot of data and the IMP (the file format used to store the laser data) is over 100 GB.

Our teams are now in the process of creating 2D CAD drawing that the park can use to track rock movement and help ensure the preservation of the Monument for future generations. We will work alongside CDDV to produce a mesh from the points and overlay the mesh with many of the over 14,000 photos collected. Once this process is completed we will have the ability to create photo-realistic animations and even generate rapid prototype models of the Monument.

While the production continues, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the first visualization animation of the complete registered data set of the Monument.

Please check back periodically for updates about Mt. Rushmore and our many other projects. We look forward to the public release of the Mt. Rushmore project on the CyArk website, as well as the additional educational and cultural tourism deliverables which will be produced over the remaining years of the project.

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Perspective view of registered laser scan data, showing Lincoln and Roosevelt
Elizabeth Lee and Douglas Pritchard at 2010 Leica Conference