Maryland State House

Medium-Range High-Resolution Laser Scanning Allows for High-Accuracy Documentation

Projects - MD State House Documentation

In summer 2008, Direct Dimensions performed digital archival work at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, MD. It was in the room known as the “Old Senate Chamber” within the Maryland State House that George Washington submitted his resignation as the Commander of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783. In tribute, a mannequin of George Washington stands at the head of the room, dressed in period clothing and a bronze plaque commemorates the exact spot of this famous transition of power.

The Maryland State House, built during the Revolutionary War, was built in the Georgian Style that was very popular during the late colonial period. It still functions today as the oldest continuously used State House in the nation. Clearly, given the significance of this structure, Direct Dimensions was quite willing to demonstrate the 3D digital capabilities that can be used to document, analyze, and restore its original design.

DDI business development manager Harry Abramson was very enthusiastic about this project. “The archivist’s had employed a fairly high-tech program so we were excited to show them our 3D imaging technologies to help them stay ahead of the curve,” he said.

In one day on-site in Annapolis, DDI laser scanned the entire Old Senate Chamber room, which included its exposed original brick walls, plaster ceiling, wood plank flooring, a small 2nd story balcony, and the architectural ornamental elements. Again the Surphaser medium-range scanner was used as it was the perfect tool to capture all these fine details of the approximate 35-ft square room. In addition, DDI performed several test scans on the State House's unique and famous dome, so significant that it was featured on Maryland’s commemorative state quarter.

The raw laser data, digitally modeled by DDI’s technicians using PolyWorks software, was provided for the Historical Structure Archive for the State. Given its resolution and accuracy, it could also be used to replicate historical elements in exact detail, should the need arise.