Case Study: Preserving a National Treasure With 3D Laser Scanning

When Structural Technologies was hired by The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA they knew the task at hand was first and foremost about preserving the infrastructure of a National Historic Landmark. There was no room for error. The Academy of Music is home to the oldest operating opera house in the United States and has brought Philadelphia’s art community together for over 160 years. It is undoubtedly a sacred and storied establishment worth preserving. 

The exterior facade of the opera house was in great need of restorative services and Structural Technologies knew that obtaining detailed and accurate scans of the building’s exterior in addition to 2D sheets demonstrating the balconie’s dimensions would be instrumental in repairing and refurbishing the facade of the delicate structure. For The Academy of Music’s Board of Trustees it was imperative that the building’s iconic brownstone be restored to its original condition. 


This is where our team of experts at Datum Tech Solutions stepped in. Our team’s East Coast Training Manager, Bryant Schwartz, guided the Structural Technologies team ensuring that they would have the equipment and expertise needed on site to create a high definition 3D survey of the building’s brownstone. The team at Structural Technologies needed accurate scans of the brownstone in order to plan for and execute the necessary repairs. 

The Required Equipment + Software 

Scanning the facade of the landmark from the vantage point of the street wasn’t going to be an option which Schwartz knew early on. From the street view much of the detail of the facade would be lost. Plus, scanning from the street would mean that the team would need to be wary of curious pedestrians meandering their way through a work site. The decision to utilize the Scan&Go BLK Window Scan was made early on. What’s great about the BLK Window Scan is its ability to access unique potentially hazardous vantage points. It goes where most other equipment and people can’t. It reduces hazards in the workplace and is a fairly straightforward piece of equipment to set-up and use. 

In addition to the Scan&Go the Leica BLK360 Laser Scanner was brought in to capture a highly accurate 3D point cloud of the brownstone. 

The BLK360 renders billions of external surface data points into a point cloud giving the team at Structural Technologies the ability to refurbish the facade of the building with precision and accuracy. 

The Leica RTC360 3D Laser Scanner known for its portability and precision was brought in by Datum Tech Solutions to capture 3D point clouds (2,000,000 data points per second) of the exterior brownstone as well as the building’s adjacent interior. With these 3D point clouds, Schwartz was able to provide the Structural Technologies team with a 360° view of the interior and exterior. Essentially the 3D point clouds were stitched together to create one unified point cloud. This unified point cloud gave the Structural Technologies team the scans they needed to get up and running on the restoration project.    

Cross-Country Collaboration 

Now more than ever teams are looking for avenues for remote communication and collaboration. At Datum tech Solutions we’re always revealing new ways for teams to communicate no matter where they’re located or what time zone they’re in. This is the beauty of 3D laser scanning technology. 

The team at Datum Tech Solutions offers six software solutions that pair seamlessly with its product offerings. Reid Flamm, Datum Tech Solutions CTO, brings his passion for technological development and design to each and every project. So whether you’re new to the world of 3D laser scanning technology or you’re coming to the table with years of experience Flamm can guide your team over any software-related hurdles you may face. 

We invite you to connect with one of our experts before you begin any restoration projects in 2021. 

Client Follow-Up 

Datum Tech Solutions is invested in the long-term success of client projects, no matter the scale.

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