BIM News

Lincoln’s cottage goes 3D with Leica ScanStation C10


February 18, 2015 Megan Christopher

To commemorate the 206th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, we decided to post an article about documenting Lincoln’s historic summer home using the Leica ScanStation C10 to digitally preserve the entire structure in 3D. This cottage is where he spent his summers, wrote his preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation and last visited the day before he was assassinated.

A team of undergraduate research students from Ithaca College in upstate NY decided to capture a level of detail never possible before with the outcome being a 3D fly-through movie documenting the architecture of this cottage, from floor to ceiling, inside and out and in precise detail for people to watch halfway around the world or even beyond that.

The researchers recorded the exterior and most of the interior of the building using a Leica C-10 3D laser scanner that takes 50,000 readings per second. Images collected from the scanning will support preservation research, potentially impacting historical interpretation and public outreach at the site, which was used by Lincoln and his family to escape the summer heat of downtown Washington.

Now open to the public, it is operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which through innovative guided tours, exhibits and programs hopes to inspire visitors to take their own path to greatness, preserving the cottage as an authentic, tangible connection to the past and a beacon of hope for all who take up Lincoln’s unfinished work.

“This great opportunity not only records the existing conditions of the cottage, it also provides a platform for us to document, manage and present future preservation projects to the public,” said Jeffrey Larry, preservation manager at President Lincoln’s Cottage.

The Washington Post published a helpful description of what the 3D laser scanning project will accomplish: Preservationists and researchers will be able explore an ultra-high-resolution image of the structure — floor to ceiling, inside and out — exact to two-tenths of an inch. Students a world away soon may be able to “fly” through the room where Lincoln freed the slaves.

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