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America’s Oldest Gothic Architecture Standing Straight and Tall

Published: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 15:00

This past month API Services and New River Kinematics teamed up for a historic preservation project at St. Luke’s Church and Museum in Smithfield, Virginia. Together, they provided a full building scan and collected point cloud data to keep records for the church and its ongoing restoration.

For nearly four centuries, historic St. Luke’s Church has persevered through war, destruction, misuse and abandonment, witnessing the great events of our nation’s history. This historic landmark is the oldest example of Gothic architecture in America, dating back to the 1600s. Today, tourists from all over the country come to learn about its history, marvel at the architecture, and pay respect to those who were buried in the cemetery. St. Luke’s offers church services to the public and still hosts events and weddings.

St. Luke’s board members expressed concern that the front tower seemed to be slightly leaning. API Services provided a full scan of the church, both interior and exterior, in just a few hours, and the scan data showed that the structure was, in fact, vertically straight. It was the elevation of the ground that wasn’t level and gave the illusion that the tower was leaning.

To scan the church, API Services combined the most advanced laser tracker with a 3-D laser scanner and the new SMART Scanning process. All of the data collected by the scanning devices were placed into an instrument interface software, Spatial Analyzer, from New River Kinematics. This allowed API Services to work with multiple instruments simultaneously.

Spatial Analyzer can take the data points and create a digital frame of reference. This will allow both API Services and New River Kinematics to revisit the church and use key points of reference from the data for future structural analysis.

For projects such as St. Luke’s, having accurate structural measurement data allows project stakeholders to continue preservation efforts while preserving the building’s original integrity. API Services and New River Kinematics plans to revisit the church in the future to compare scans and further assist in its preservation.

To learn more about API Services’ SMART Scanning, click here.

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API Services

API Services, a metrology and machine tool calibration service company, has been in business since 2008 and is headquartered in Newport News, Virginia. API Services offers machine tool calibration and repair, contract measurement services, tracker and software training, on-site laser tracker calibration and certification, 3-D laser scanning, customized maintenance and support services, and you can rent or be trained on API equipment. Visit www.apitechnical.com for more information.