Field Notes: A New Favorite Office

GPRS Project Manager Conducts 3D Laser Scans Inside Wisconsin Cave

Field Notes: A New Favorite Office

GPRS Project Manager Conducts 3D Laser Scans Inside Wisconsin Cave

Best. Office. Ever.

That’s what GPRS Project Manager Cole Dickson kept saying to himself as he carefully positioned his Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner on top of the craggy, unforgiving bedrock under his boots. 

Dickson was recently tasked with conducting 3D laser scans inside a cave in Wisconsin where the owners were preparing to overhaul the stairs and walkways that carry visitors throughout the tourist destination. The existing wooden structures were decades old, and the high humidity inside the cave – almost 100% year-round – had taken its toll.  

“They wanted to build aluminum or steel structures instead of wooden stairwells and walkways in there, just to make it sturdier and safer for people coming through,” Dickson said. 

The client had installed a steel handrail a few years prior, and they told Dickson that this relatively simple project quickly turned into a massive headache. Using traditional methods, it took them days to obtain proper measurements inside the labyrinth of the cavern.

A GPRS Project Manager positions a Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner inside a cave in Wisconsin.A GPRS Project Manager positions a Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner inside a cave in Wisconsin.
GPRS Project Manager Cole Dickson was able to collect a total of 38 scans in about four hours inside a cave in Wisconsin. 

“One of the major challenges is that, in a cave, nothing is square,” Dickson said. “From an engineering standpoint, that’s really difficult for them when they need to take measurements and be able to make precise calculations on whatever they’re crafting in the cave.”

In just four hours on site, Dickson took a total of 38 scans of the cave’s walkway, stairwells, and the area immediately surrounding the structures. He primarily used the Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner, a high-performance laser scanner that captures and automatically pre-registers scans in real time with 2-4 mm accuracy. He also utilized the Leica P-Series P40 scanner, which delivers even higher-quality point cloud data and HDR imagery at a rate of up to 1 million points per second and ranges of more than 1 kilometer. 

“I was tasked to scan the entire walkway, stairwells, and then the surrounding area underneath and around the walkway just so they have spatial awareness and understanding of the layout of the cave floor, and all the slopes and geometry there to be able to quickly have calculation and understanding of the layout,” Dickson said. 

A GPRS Project Manager stands next to a Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner inside a cave in Wisconsin.
Within five days of GPRS Project Manager Cole Dickson conducting 3D laser scans inside a cave in Wisconsin, the point cloud produced with the scans had been delivered to the client. 

GPRS entered the burgeoning 3D laser scanning industry in 2022 with the acquisition of TruePoint Laser Scanning, LLC, a leading provider of 3D laser scanning services. Through this acquisition, GPRS now provides accurate as-builts, point clouds, maps, CAD drawings, and 3D models for the engineering, design, construction, architectural, oil & gas, facility management, multimedia & entertainment, historical preservation, stadium & theater, education, healthcare, water & wastewater, and energy & utility industries. 

Our nationwide team of elite Project Managers is strategically placed in every major market across the United States, allowing us to quickly mobilize to any job site or project anywhere in the country. And our in-house team of CAD technicians transform the data collected by our Project Managers in the field into point clouds with customized deliverables such as 2D drawings and 3D models at any level of detail for visualization, analysis, design, construction, renovation, prefabrication, and facility modifications.

We know that time is money, and so we pride ourselves on the quick turnaround of our clients’ deliverables. In the case of Dickson’s visit to the cave in Wisconsin, the client received the point cloud data within a week of the site being scanned.

“Caves are such a cool atmosphere… I was super excited to hear about this project, and I wanted to give the client a great price and a great product,” Dickson said. “They had all the data that they needed and were able to get to work on what they wanted to do.”

Dickson clearly made a good impression during his time in Wisconsin. 

A GPRS Project Manager reviews 3D laser scan data on an iPad.
The engineer on site in the cave with GPRS Project Manager Cole Dickson was so impressed with Dickson’s work, he wants him to come back again to conduct more scans soon.

“The engineer that was on site with me was just so blown away and excited about how accurate our data was, and he actually wants me to come back just to document the rest of the cave for him,” he said. “So, there’s the potential to go back, which would be really exciting and something that I really want to work towards.” 

When you’re a GPRS Project Manager, you never know what the next day might bring. Just a few days after finishing up his work in Wisconsin, Dickson was in Nevada, Missouri scanning inside a water treatment facility.

A Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner scans inside a cave in Wisconsin.
Caves now might be GPRS Project Manager Cole Dickson’s favorite place to scan.

A few days after that, Dickson was in Oklahoma City scanning inside the Lloyd Noble Center, home of Oklahoma University’s basketball teams.

“I think my favorite thing about this job is being able to see all the behind-the-scenes stuff that working an office job, or just in a different industry, you don’t get to see,” Dickson said. “I’m really interested in getting to talk to whoever is on site and understanding whatever project I’m at, what they do.”

Whatever the job entails, GPRS has the people and the technology to help you Intelligently Visualize The Built World™. 

What can we help you visualize? Visit our website to schedule a service today.