Real Time 3D Scanning of Noel Storm Damage Aids Real Time Weather Channel Coverage

Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore uses Leica ScanStation images to show immediate effects of storm damage; highlights data benefits for better coastal modeling

{mosaddphp:mega-house.php}(Norcross, Ga., 27 Nov. 2007) In just hours of Tropical Storm Noel blowing over Florida’s southern Atlantic coast on November 1st, 2007, GlobalMind, a land survey and mapping provider, used Leica Geosystems’ ScanStation high-definition 3D laser scanner to detail some of the immediate storm damage. The 3D images revealed severe beach erosion undermining some high-end beach front properties. These images were so compelling that the Weather Channel’s meteorologist Jim Cantore featured the ScanStation 3D imagery the same evening on his nationally-televised, real-time coverage of the hurricane, citing the benefits of this advanced technology to improve coastal modeling. 

Tropical Storm Noel, the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic tropical season, was one of the worst and deadliest hurricanes on record for the year 2007. It led to 143 lives lost, substantial mudslides, and flash flooding across The Dominican Republic and Haiti.  The tropical storm also created heavy beach erosion as it moved along the east coast of Florida.  An undeniable example of this significant erosion is at Riviera Beach in Singer Island, a suburb of West Palm Beach. GlobalMind’s on-site crews set the ScanStation’s sites on two adjacent beach-front condominiums and in 40 minutes collected over 997,000 data points, revealing a nearly 20-foot vertical drop from the level of one of the buildings to the beach below.   

A first test of Leica’s ScanStation for mapping storm damage, GlobalMind’s president Steve Gordon said the high precision of the HDS laser scanner not only proved its value as a highly efficient data source for detailing and revealing hurricane destruction, it clearly showed its viability as a land-subsidence monitoring tool for coastal infrastructure.  "Structures built on sand that are vulnerable to erosion need to be routinely monitored in great detail to ensure their stability," said Gordon. "I think Leica’s 3D laser scanning technology is the best tool you can use to pinpoint ground shifts in underlying geology that could topple buildings." 

The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore also saw the potential of laser scanning for this application, said Gordon.  "Using our ScanStation image of severe beach erosion, Jim Cantore was not only able to quickly show the clarity of specific coastal erosion during his televised report, he also used it to show how advanced technology such as this could greatly serve the need for better, detailed coastal monitoring."

Michael Harvey, Leica Geosystems’ Product Marketing Manager for scanning said the Leica ScanStation, and in particular the ScanStation2 with its increased scanning speed, lends itself very well to mapping incidents such as these. "This positioning technology enables users to collect very dense datasets very quickly – millions of survey grade points per hour – while ensuring field teams’ safety. Some scene areas may still be unsafe, so the remote data-collection abilities of the laser scanner allow users to document critical sections of areas from a safe distance." 
Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information.

Those who use Leica products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 2,400 employees in 22 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.  

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