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3-D Scanning for Bus 19 Peace Memorial

Laser scanning and digital modeling deliver detailed models for visualizations and more

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 05:30

On Jan. 29, 2004, 11 people lost their lives and 50 were wounded in a suicide bombing on Egged Bus 19 in Jerusalem. Since that tragic incident, the remains of Bus 19 have travelled around the world as a reminder of the horrors of terrorism. First stopping at The Hague for the International Court of Justice hearing regarding the Israeli West Bank barrier, the wreckage was then brought to the United States, where it toured among various cities, college campuses, synagogues, and churches.

The wreckage ended its journey at Camp Shoresh in Adamstown, Maryland, under the care of Adam Edelman and The Bus 19 Project. The Bus 19 Project is a group dedicated to preserving the bus remnants as a peace memorial. Edelman has been fundraising and raising awareness for his project, whose stated mission is to design and build a memorial garden and education pavilion to remember the 11 individuals who lost their lives and to educate the public on the effects of global terrorism. The planned education center will be open to students, emergency medical technicians, government agencies, and other scheduled tour groups.

Figure 1: On Jan. 29, 2004 shortly before 9 a.m., Egged Bus No. 19 was at the corner of Gaza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem when a bomber on the back of the bus detonated his bomb.

As part of the memorial project, Edelman came to Direct Dimensions in early 2010 to speak with us about how 3-D laser scanning and 3-D imaging might be used as part of Bus 19’s educational mission. We were excited to tackle a unique 3-D scan application while also helping a worthy cause. Scanning the complicated remains of the bus, with its twisted metal and exposed wiring, proved a somber challenge.

Direct Dimensions’ technician Dominic Albanese and I travelled to Adamstown with a portable laser scanner to scan Bus 19 in its final resting place. We used the Surphaser HSX Spherical Laser Scanner to digitally capture the entire bus in just a few hours. The Surphaser is a perfect scanner for a large and complex object like Bus 19 due to its ease of use and portability, which allowed the bus to be scanned from multiple positions to rapidly obtain all the data for the final 3-D modeling process. While on site, Albanese also captured the images required to make an interactive panoramic representation of the bus.

Figure 2: Bus 19 was scanned by a Surphaser HSX Spherical Laser Scanner in Adamstown, Maryland.

The data acquired from the scan, in the form of large point clouds, was digitally modeled using PolyWorks Modeler software. The initial deliverables to the Bus 19 Project were an interactive panoramic file and virtual 3-D fly-through of Bus 19 in its proposed position in the memorial and education center.

While those two items can currently help Edelman raise awareness about his mission, it is just as important that wreckage of Bus 19 has been digitally documented in its current form. Until the funds are raised to build the memorial center, Bus 19 will remain in its current outdoor resting place, exposed to the elements. That captured data, which are perfect for visualizations and animations, can also be used in the future for re-creations of the bus as it now exists, to help the architects design the memorial around the bus, or even for an engineering analysis of the best way to support and display the bus.

Figure 3: A view of the scan

Now that Bus 19 has been digitally documented, it is possible to do almost anything with that 3-D data.

To see the panoramic image or learn more about The Bus 19 Project, visit http://bus19project.com/.

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About The Author

Michael Raphael’s picture

Michael Raphael

Michael Raphael is founder and president of Direct Dimensions Inc., a Baltimore-based company offering a full range of 3-D imaging services including reverse engineering, dimensional inspection, and 3-D scanning. Direct Dimensions has been providing solutions for a wide range of fields from manufacturing, engineering, and design to art, sculpture, and architecture for nearly 15 years.