Geo Week News

January 4, 2017

3D scanning gets kids into engineering while they’re young


You hear about the same problem at nearly every conference: It is difficult to get younger people interested in professions like engineering and surveying. When most members of the workforce are close to aging out, and there are few people around waiting to take their place, that constitutes a sort of crisis for these crucial industries.

Transport Scotland is attacking the problem using 3D scanning and a few other futuristic technologies.

According to the BBC, the new project is built on top of scans gathered by Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art. Those scans were part of a £300,000 project to capture the road and rail bridges over the River Forth.


A scan from the project to capture Forth River bridges

Transport Scotland is offering a £425,000 grant so that digital heritage experts can take those scans and “start work on learning games, augmented reality apps, real-time interactive models for virtual headset tours and video fly-throughs.”

The hope is that cutting-edge technology will help to draw Scottish students to develop their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. In other words, make it cool and they will come.

As Transport Minister Humza Yousaf told BBC, “The Forth bridges represent Scotland’s industrial past, creative present and our dynamic and innovative future. They are the pinnacle of world-leading design and engineering and it’s right that we conserve and protect them and also seek to inspire and educate the young engineers of the future.”

Of course, there are other uses for these scans. Yousaf explained that “the possibilities for this comprehensive digital data are almost endless. It allows the production of detailed information and tools for conservation, educational resources, improving accessibility and delivering virtual records to help health and safety training as well as promoting tourism.”

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