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Using technology to preserve space age history.

The challenge: preserve national historic landmarks that are falling into decay. One answer: laser scanning.

Funding limitations for major preservation projects have prompted the U.S. Air Force to take a high-tech approach to the challenge. The Air Force has turned to laser technology to document and preserve Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's historic launch structures that launched the United States' first manned spacecraft to orbit the earth in 1962.

The Air Force's 45th Space Wing partnered with the University of South Florida's (USF) Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies (AIST) to use a laser scanner "to survey, map, and create virtual-model videos of six of the highest priority historic launch complexes."

"We consider many of these structures to be endangered species, meaning that they are unique and sometimes the last of their kind, and we are looking at ways to preserve them digitally and holistically, as well as improve chances for effective stabilization and maintenance," said Lori Collins, Ph.D., the co-director of the AIST program.

"Digital documentation will, in this case, not only be used for preservation and archival recording efforts, but for visualization through online, classroom and other applications, promoting education and outreach," she explained. "Already, data from this project has been used in courses at USF on heritage preservation, museum visualizations and field method applications, and much more is planned in the way of teaching and training using heritage as a theme."

The scanning and field operations are complete and the project is now focusing on modeling, visualization, and other digital products for possible future maintenance and stabilization of the structures. The Air Force said the next phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2015 and will include terrestrial laser scanning and 3-D spatial technologies to identify, evaluate, and document baseline conditions at the launch complexes so researchers can evaluate condition changes and deterioration.

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Title Annotation:PRESERVATION
Publication:Information Management Journal
Date:Nov 1, 2014
Words:309
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