On a cold day this spring, a group of Pennsylvania College of Technology students huddled around an object perched on a three-legged stand and watched as it came to life with a series of swivels and scanning motions. The students were learning about 3D laser scanning technology, a new approach to collecting building measurements, in a session led by a Larson Design Group (LDG) team member and Penn College alumni.
“The experience of teaching students about what this technology does was great,” said Chris Master, Architectural Technician in LDG’s Williamsport office. “It’s showing them what they can do and use here if they want to pursue internships or jobs with us. It’s investing in the future for both the students and for us.”
Master was demonstrating 3D laser scanning and point-cloud technology to a group of students from a class at Penn College taught by Robert Wozniak, an associate professor of Architectural Technology. For several years, Wozniak has conducted a unit on “existing drawings,” in which he takes students to a local site where they can learn how to conduct hand measurements. Wozniak – who was one of Master’s instructors while Master was earning his bachelor’s degree in Building Science and Sustainable Design – “has always been interested in laser scanning and point-cloud technology,” so during a job fair at the school late last year that Master was attending for LDG, Wozniak asked if he would consider leading an instructional session on the technology for interested students.
Master, Wozniak and the students met at the historic Rawley House in Williamsport’s Millionaires Row neighborhood and spent two hours measuring the Victorian mansion’s original carriage house, which now functions as a garage. The students took hand measurements while Master operated the 3D scanners, with the students trading off in groups to watch how the technology captures millions of measurements, data points and photos of a space – what is referred to as a point cloud.
Afterwards, the students joined Master at LDG’s Williamsport office, where he explained the process used to “stitch” together the point-cloud data and compile it into a comprehensive plan of the measured space. Master also showed the group examples of previous surveys that use the 3D scanning equipment from beginning to end, “to show them the full potential of what this technology can do.”
The students took the point cloud data back to class with them to use as reference for future projects, and Master noted that several of them seemed very interested in the process and the advantages it has over more old-fashioned methods. As one of the only companies in central Pennsylvania who uses this technology, Master said he hopes it’s a good incentive for those students to seek out opportunities with LDG in the future.
“Chris has been on the forefront of 3D scanning and point cloud development since joining LDG in 2016, and over the past few years, he’s traveled to nearly every corner of the country and applied this technology to a wide range of building types and sizes,” said Dave Balzer, AIA, LEEP AP, Regional Director of Retail Design. “This has helped strengthen LDG as an industry leader and it’s great to see him share this knowledge with the next generation of PCT students.”
Founded in 1993, Larson Design Group is an emerging national architecture, engineering and geospatial firm with 10 offices in four states and a vision to elevate client relationships, enrich the careers and lives of its employee-owners, and enhance the communities in which it operates. For more information, visit www.larsondesigngroup.com.