CalTrans Acquires Leica ScanStation C10 Scanners for Bay Bridge Construction


Norcross, Ga., April 17, 2012—The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) now operates five ScanStation C10 laser scanners from Leica Geosystems. Two were purchased outright, and three are upgrades from Leica ScanStation 2 scanners, used as trade ins. “The upgrade to the C10 was a natural for us, and we did it for all the classic reasons,” said Thomas Taylor, PLS, CalTrans’ Chief of Survey Coordination and New Technology, “It’s a faster, lighter, and less bulky scanner, and it gets into places where the ScanStation 2 wouldn’t fit.” “The C10 is also safer for us,” adds Senior Transportation Surveyor Kevin Akin, “By reducing the time that crews spend in marginal setup locations, we minimize exposure and increase the amount of projects that we can do safely.”

Laser scanning is a fairly new technology at CalTrans, but is already seeing widespread adoption by the internal ‘customers’ at one of the world’s largest survey and design entities. “We use scanning for all the classic projects, like profiles and digital terrain models,” says Taylor, “But as word gets out, we’re getting requests for a much greater variety of work.” One example he cites is a request from an environmental department for scans of an area prior to changing the course of a river; the resulting data will be compared to future scans to assess project impact. “We’re also being asked for forensic, hydraulic, and geotechnical surveying, and we’re starting to get involved in asset management,” says Taylor, “Really, faster, easier laser scanning is a game changer for us; it reminds of the period when RTK suddenly made GPS the right choice for a lot more projects.”

ScanStation C10s are also being used on two of CalTrans’ very highest profile projects, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge seismic safety reconstruction and the Presidio Parkway—both are high budget projects in iconic locations that have to please a very demanding public.

On the Bay Bridge project, scans of Yerba Buena Island were used for design work. And a Lecia C10 is being used constantly as the bridge’s signature self-anchored suspension span (SAS) is loaded with weight. “The construction plan calls for tightly controlled deformation under load stressing,” Taylor explains, “So a crew is on call to scan as needed to verify that tolerances aren’t being exceeded.” And on the Presidio Parkway/Doyle Drive reconstruction, scans are being used to preserve historic structures and to complete design surveys safely in high-traffic areas.

“Leica Geosystems is very happy to be working with CalTrans to ensure that their scanning technology is world class and up to date,” says Regional Sales Manager Birk Ellis, “They did amazing things with our ScanStation 2, and we’re proud to see the C10 performing well on the world’s most amazing bridge construction project. CalTrans’ investment shows that they are committed to the use of excellent technology while meeting the transportation challenges facing California!”

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