3D Laser Scanning Unlocks Historic New England

Historic New England Cover Summer 2015

At Feldman, we’re constantly ready to provide our clients with the best results using the latest technology, but even we can’t always predict how exciting the outcome of a 3D laser scan will be. In the Summer 2015 issue of Historic New England, Benjamin Haavik’s article “Laser Technology Adds a New Dimension to Documentation” discusses from a Team Leader’s perspective how laser scanning went far beyond gathering accurate data for the preservation of the Eustis Mansion in Milton, Massachusetts. Check out the video that’s serving as both a sneak peek for the public and an enlightening view to an underground vault rarely seen by human eyes.

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Our Founder: Harry R. Feldman

Ever wonder what the elevation change is in the Grand Canyon? You’re not alone. But it took a man with the indomitable spirit of Harry R. Feldman to actually map it!

The Grand Canyon Project, Arizona
The Grand Canyon Project, Arizona
Hancock Tower, Boston MA
Hancock Tower, Boston MA
The Grand Canyon Project, Arizona
The Grand Canyon Project, Arizona
Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project, NY
Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project, NY
High Rise Buildings, Boston
High Rise Buildings, Boston
Boston Redevelopment Authority, Mapping the City
Boston Redevelopment Authority, Mapping the City
Lewiston–Queenston Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY
Lewiston–Queenston Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY
Cambridge Electron Accelerator, Cambridge MA
Cambridge Electron Accelerator, Cambridge MA

Also our company’s founder, his passion and experience are as strong as ever at Feldman Land Surveyors.

 

 

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Feldman Land Surveyors Breaks Ground with Second Graders

Admittedly, since the firm was founded three generations ago, Feldman has had plenty of expert eyes benefit from a visit to our offices. But recently we were honored to host two of our first-ever experienced monster fighters!

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In August, a second grader from Mason Rice Elementary School was shown our website by his mother. He enjoys playing Minecraft, a computer game that involves building virtual structures to protect against the attack of destructive monsters. As players progress in the game, they can work together to create imaginative 3D features and even build entire cities. So it wasn’t surprising that the second grader was immediately interested in our website, especially with our stories and images related to 3D imaging real world structures like the Paul Revere House and Boston Public Library.

Seeing his interest, his parents arranged for him and a classmate to visit our firm for an afternoon. Jehiel Rosario, Steve Wilkes and Justin Geddis showed the students the software we use every day, which is based on 3D laser scans and allows us to produce Revit models that give everyone from architects to engineers the data they need to do their jobs.

Throughout the course of their visit, the students were able to see Feldman’s involvement on projects such as Logan Airport and Filene’s basement Downtown Crossing, as well as historic preservation work in Milton, MA.

When asked for his thoughts about the impromptu visit, the firm’s president Michael Feldman said, “I’m hopeful this kind of activity will show children at an early age that what we do is not only extremely important to the built environment, but it’s fun and even a bit creative!”

So when the proverbial what did you do over your summer vacation rolls around, a couple of students can now report they found creative ways to keep both virtual and real cities safe and standing for generations to come. Not bad for second grade!

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Feldman Land Surveyor among the top 10 small businesses of the year!

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We are pleased to announce that Feldman Land Surveyors was selected by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to be among the winners of the 30th annual Small Business of the Year Awards.

This year’s awards is Greater Boston’s top ten small, high-growth businesses, and recognizes these companies to be the best in class small business within the greater Boston area.

We are thrilled to be chosen for this award and we are joining the other winners in celebrating the 30th anniversary of our Small Business of the Year Awards and the impact that those small businesses are having on our economy and great community.

The 2014 Small Business of the Year Awards breakfast will be held on Thursday, October 9, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. Click here for more details and to register for the awards breakfast.

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Building Great Memories From Boston’s Run To Remember

The 10th running of Boston’s Run to Remember is in the record books. On Sunday, May 25th, over 10,000 participants took part in either the five-mile or half marathon course.

For anyone not in the know, the unique local event, co-sponsored by the Boston Police Department and the Boston Police Runner’s Club, is held in honor of the more than 300 of the Bay State’s law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

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Here at Feldman Land Surveyors, our own Senior Vice President, Karl McCarthy, PLS, was one of the thousands of half marathon participants. He was kind enough to share his impressions of the run, as well as his personal path to long distance running.

What’s important to note is that Karl hasn’t always been a long distance runner. In fact, he’s a reformed golfer and former sprinter who started getting back into shape using the company’s recently completed gym. He confesses that when he first committed to an exercise regimen, he ran every other day… and hated it!

Karl stuck with it, though. Soon he was running outside for longer distances at an ever-increasing pace. It didn’t take long before he entered his first 5K with no greater goal than to finish the course.

He did just that and eventually started training for half marathons. Now he tracks his split times daily, just like any real competitor would. And he gets his extra fix of endorphins on long weekend training runs.

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But when this year’s Run to Remember suffered a Mass Pike-style runners’ jam at the course’s start, most competitors saw their hopes of personal best times dashed. Ever the optimist, Karl took it all in stride and went on to have a wonderful run anyway. Though he was prepared to run faster, he was moved by all the armed guards and police cruisers lining the route.

He crossed the finish line holding his daughter’s hand. She ran the race with him, and by the looks on their faces, this Run to Remember was not just about honoring those lost in the line of duty. It was also about building great memories doing something good with somebody you care about.

Stay tuned, because when the topic of marathons comes up, Karl just gets quiet and laces up his running shoes.

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National Historic Preservation Month. Using Laser Technology as a Preservation Tool.

Each May, Boston celebrates the historic preservation efforts that bring thousands of visitors to our city and make it a beautiful place to live. This years’s calendar of events has been titled, “Buildings & Grounds.” The celebrations included a long list of events that are created to bring extra attention to the best historic tours in Boston.

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In addition, you can tour neighborhoods with the preservation planners who know them best, go behind the scenes on preservation and archeology projects, and explore with guides who take on characters like Frederick Law Olmsted.

As part of the event, Michael Feldman, president of Feldman Land Surveyors, will give a presentation on his company’s use of three-dimensional laser scans of historic sites and share his company’s techniques while showing examples of recent work. He will discuss how these renderings play a crucial role in modern renovations of historic sites and greatly improve historic preservation.

The presentation will take place at The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St., Chestnut Hill.  For more information about the event click here or contact Lauren Kaufmann at (617) 277-0065.

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3D Shamrocks: Laser Scanning the James Michael Curley House

For anyone familiar with Boston’s larger-than-life, four-time mayor James Michael Curley, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that in 2014 he’s still managing to unite people to do great things for their city. In this case, Boston Globe correspondent John Dyer set off a grand chain of events back in January when he wrote about Feldman Land Surveyors’ pro-bono work in his article, 3D Scans Add a New Dimension to Preservation.

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The article sparked the imaginations of Christopher Gleason and Jody Gordon, both humanities professors at Wentworth Institute of Technology. The two were so inspired by Dyer’s words that they contacted Feldman Land Surveyors with a unique and interesting question. Would the James Michael Curley house qualify as a subject for Feldman’s Scanning Historic Boston program?

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Gleason and Gordon, who were about to instruct a new course focusing on digitally archiving and curating Curley’s life, realized a non-destructive 3D laser scan of the mayor’s house would be a fascinating addition to their collaborative collection and assembly of relevant data. No to mention that any virtual museum of the Curley’s life simply had to include the shamrock-shuttered house he called home for more than forty years.

Once their request reached Feldman’s offices, the rest—as they say—is history.

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Michael Feldman, the firm’s CEO and third generation president, saw the potential in the Curley project right away. “Feldman’s pro-bono work isn’t about merely collecting data. It’s about keeping Boston’s architectural treasures alive. So when our laser scans and the technology we use to collect them can be used in an educational setting, it matches the reason we started Scanning Historic Boston in the first place.”

Somewhere the spirit of James Michael Curley must be smiling down on this campaign, as well as working on a speech to fan all the renewed interest in his house with the 3D shamrocks!

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Heroism in 3D: Shackelton’s Expedition Hut Archived

Whiskers and whiskey on the rocks. If this sounds like a good time in a backwoods’ lodge, you might be right. But there’s another, very interesting, association to be made.

Shackleton

Between the late 1800s and 1914, 17 expeditions organized by 17 different countries traveled to Antarctica tasked with recording data to gain an understanding of the continent. And on 19 October 1908, British explorer Ernest Shackleton, along with a three-man team, embarked on the Nimrod Expedition: an ambitious undertaking to be the first to reach Antarctica’s South Pole, fulfilling a number of scientific and geographical objectives along the way. However, the expedition failed after Shackleton made the responsible call to avoid putting his men’s’ lives at risk during extreme weather conditions. The whiskered team left the continent on 4 March, 1909. In the race to the South Pole, Shackleton was beaten by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, but he eventually returned to Antarctica for other expeditions before his death in 1922.

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Now, almost a century later, CyArk has started to digitally record three Antarctic expedition huts: Scott’s Hut, Discovery Hut and Shackleton’s Hut. Due to the subzero conditions of the region, the structures are particularly well preserved. The huts served as base camps for a number of major expeditions at the beginning of the 20th century. Discovery Hut was actually built in Antarctica during the Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904, and upon the expedition’s return, was left fully stocked for future expedition parties. Scott’s Hut was prefabricated in the United Kingdom and transported by ship to the southernmost continent. Interestingly, the hut was insulated with seaweed and according to the members of the expedition, was actually “warm to the point of uncomfortable.”

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Shackleton’s hut is not only known for its role as a shelter for the Nimrod expedition; it’s also famous for the fact that five crates of McKinlay and Co. whiskey were buried in the ice under the hut. Discovered in 2006, the liquor was of particular interest to distillers Whyte and Mackay because the blend is now extinct and with a sample, there is a possibility of recreating it.

So if you want to see how whiskered heroes of the early 20th century lived while on expedition, keep an eye on MacKay’s distillery, as well as CyArk’s website, where 3D recreations of the expedition huts will be available to the public after the project’s completion.

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The Link Between Land Surveying and Animation Graphics

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Ship

What do Monsters University and Boston College have in common? Or Turbo the super speedy snail and the Charles W. Morgan Whaling Ship? Or Finding Nemo and the Nantucket Marina?

At first glance, Hollywood movies and socially significant sites seem to be about as similar as Californians and New Englanders. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that both have been brought to virtual life by 3D modeling software such as 3ds Max and Maya. Animation studios and land surveyors both use these programs to process data and create accurate three-dimensional digital representations of imagined and real objects.

How 3D Modeling Software Works

Basically, these types of programs use nodes to create wireframes or networks of a subject. Then elements such as surfaces, textures and lighting are added to make the model an accurate visual representation of the subject. And lastly, a built-in camera sequencer lays out the desired number of camera shots and blends them into a single camera sequence.

In animated movies, animation artists generate nodes to create skeletons based on a character (such as Turbo) or world (such as Monsters University). Next, they add skins, liquids and textures to fill in the surfaces and finally, they create the actual moving scenes.

House

In land surveying, surveyors precisely measure existing sites and post-process the measurements in their 3D modeling software, where that data is processed into nodes and wireframes of the sites are generated. Surfaces and walls—sometimes with intricate molding—are modeled and ceilings are then put in place. Surveyors are also able to create highly accurate topographic models of the floors. In some cases, even the surroundings are reproduced to create settings for sites. Lastly, camera sequences are generated so viewers can move around, under, over and through sites. You can see many examples of this on our
3D animations page, where some of our most notable projects can be experienced.

So next time you’re watching Toy Story 3 or The Croods with your kids, remember the movie was made with the exact same software that preserves our most important landmarks for generations to come!

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