Today there are several hundred historic covered bridges remaining. Although there is much effort to preserve these structures, oftentimes a high cost of restoration, neglect, and vandalism takes its toll, and many are lost forever. One of the more famous bridges from "The Bridges of Madison County" movie fame was burned down last year. As we cannot completely prevent these types of incidents from occurring, we at least should properly document these bridges for posterity. The National Park Services Historic American Engineering Record has efforts underway to document historic structures. Their Level I documentation is defined in the Secretary of the Interiors Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation, and consists of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format photographs, and written historical reports. In order to assist in this effort, newer technologies need to be explored that can provide as-built records at a faster rate and with more accuracy.
The objective is to identify and demonstrate laser scanning technology to scan existing bridges for the purpose of obtaining as-built records in resolution that meets the Level I documentation criteria of the Historic American Engineering Record as defined in the Secretary of the Interiors Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation.