The Real Deal pays out
Author: Katherine Lehmuller, May 2016
3D laser scanners are big investments, and WestLAND Group, Inc., founded in 2000 in Rancho Cucamonga, California, US spent years looking for the right instrument. The company had a definite need; the work they do for railroads, which often calls for clearance surveys around tunnels and bridges, ideally fits into point clouds and cloud-based models.
A month after WestLAND received the Leica Nova MS50 MultiStation, one of their customers J.L. Patterson & Associates (JLP), a rail-specialised engineering company, came to WestLAND and requested ground control for a mobile LiDAR survey. Sophisticated users of 3D geospatial data, JLP wanted WestLAND to set control along and within several railroad tunnels near the Mexican border, with someone else doing the LIDAR work. JLP was used to working with point clouds, but didn’t necessarily think of WestLAND when it came to 3D laser scanning. WestLAND suggested they not only provide control, but also scan one tunnel, and see if the deliverable worked and was cost-effective for JLP. The offer was accepted, and WestLAND got to work.
The deliverable was ultimately for Pacific Imperial Railroad (PIR) on a section of rail known as “The Impossible Railroad.” PIR is rehabilitating the Impossible Railroad for use with double stacked trains, and 17 tunnels will have to be surveyed for clearance analysis and possible grading and track redesign. WestLAND saw the scan of one tunnel as basically a marketing investment and offered to scan one of the smaller tunnels, No. 15, which was only 91.4 metres long. It was the first project to make use of the MultiStation and it went very well.
While traversing the tunnel with the MultiStation for the control survey, the equipment was switched to scan mode and after a few setups, immediately started scanning. The entire tunnel took only a few more hours to scan and also gave the engineers time to clean up notes and sketches, and take pictures of the site to supplement the MultiStation’s images.
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Story: The "real deal" pays out
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: From field to office