Geometric Mapping and National Landmarks

By Deane Barker on September 2, 2004

U.S. disaster plans include cloned icons: An older article, but still an interesting look at the science of geometric mapping and how it’s being used to ensure we can rebuild historical structures if they’re destroyed.

The bottom line: Should disaster strike, and a political decision be made to rebuild, exact replicas — or architectural clones — could be constructed fairly quickly. How do you replicate the 225-ton, 305-foot Lady Liberty? The 288-foot Capitol dome? The 60-foot busts of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt?

Deploying high-powered, laser-scanning technology to record the landmarks from every angle, the feds have been creating three-dimensional digital models of their complex exterior features. They also have scanned part of the ornate interior of the Capitol.