As a passenger, a railway is meant to bring us to our next destination. This funicular, however, is meant to bring us back in time. Angels Flight– the world’s shortest railway standing at 99-meters in length – is an iconic landmark in the Bunker Hill District of downtown, Los Angeles. This tourist novelty has carried more than 100 million passengers along its hillside track since its opening in 1901. This city landmark, featured in more than 20 films, was closed due to safety issues. To carefully restore Angels Flight, Rick Engineering Company (RICK) supported the project with specialized 3D laser scanning. RICK’s qualified experts understand that designing excellence begins with a comprehensive understanding of the existing conditions. This requires capturing the as-built conditions in a digital way, via 3D laser scanning, to leverage the construction process with smart data that is visual, actionable and interconnected.
Before capturing the funicular, the site needed to be trimmed in a “green” way – goats, famous for eating noxious weed, were recruited for the job. It took nearly two weeks for 26 goats to eat all the weeds that grew during the four (4) years of abandonment. Once the noxious weed had been cleared and 26 scan points had been identified, two (2) technicians set up the P40 ScanStation to measure with millimeter precision 1 million points per second. The generated point cloud was used to compile and deliver a 3D CAD model with an interactive 360° digital reality environment of the Angel Flight structure.
To bring back to life this iconic landmark, the site structure and rail cars, named Sinai and Olivet, were captured with the Leica Geosystems P40 ScanStation. The 3D CAD models, dimensioned exhibits, and interactive 3D maps obtained from the point cloud enabled the steel fabricators, Paramount Metal & Supply Company, to create a design to modernize both elements.
Fusing the real world with the conceptualized design in a virtual, photo-realistic, and animated environment are tools to engage customers and collaborate with stakeholders while simultaneously constructing great buildings, spaces and structures more efficiently. Laser scanning, along with software solutions, allow teams from varied disciplines to access smart digital realities in intelligent ecosystems, just like TruView, that are user friendly, interactive and accessible.