Students laser capture historic buildings in STEAM summer camp

July 25, 2018

In 2012, a fire destroyed the historic Kelley Mansion in downtown San Jose, CA.

While many historic buildings in the area have absolutely no floor plans or building documentation, the community was fortunate that Brian Miller and a group of high school students in his summer engineering camp had recently scanned the property. “Over the past decade, since we started this program, San Jose has lost three major historic structures to fire. . . The scan data collected by our students is the only existing blueprint/record of this iconic San Jose landmark [Kelley Mansion],” Miller said.

Serving the Community Through 3D Scanning

Miller, reality capture technology specialist from PointZ Taken in San Jose, CA, spends his summer fueling local kids’ excitement about engineering by partnering with major sponsors such as FARO® to deliver a fun and educational STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program for underserved communities, completely free. Students use FARO Focus Laser Scanners to scan local historic buildings during the camp, which grew to 45 students in 2017. 

The support we’ve received from FARO goes far beyond any reasonable expectations that a community would have from a major company. What FARO has done is invest time into our community, our schools and our students.

. . . Whether it is hardware, software, educational materials, technical support, moral support or just simple advice, FARO has always been there to help sustain our program and help us communicate and share the vision of this community-based educational program.”

Brian Miller
Reality Capture Technology Specialist, PointZ Taken

Laser scanning technology is crucial to both the monitoring of conditions and historical preservation of buildings such as Kelley Mansion. With 32 historic and iconic structures spread across the 14-acre History Park in Santa Clara County, it’s extremely beneficial to be able to observe and document building and construction techniques and material, provide archival data, easily and accurately create various elevations, create 2D floor plans and more.

Teaching High-Tech Skills 

Summer camp kids at historical site

3D laser scanning – enabling the ability to merge the real world with the digital world – is a highly sought after tech skill. Coupled with a fun, and functional, software experience, mastery of these skills inspires confidence in the students, showing them that they can succeed in scientific and high-tech fields.

In addition to four FARO Focus Laser Scanners, FARO donates the latest in 3D scan software to help them analyze the data. “When a student opens their first scan and begins to explore and examine the environment, you can see excitement in their eyes. From that point forward, they are hooked, and it’s often difficult to pull them away from the project at the end of the day.”

The wonderful thing about FARO software is the ease of use, and this is especially true with young people. FARO software is so user friendly it is actually fun to use.

Brian Miller
Reality Capture Technology Speciality, PointZ Taken 


FARO Solutions for Historians, Archaeologists and Preservationists

FARO offers a comprehensive solution for efficient capture, management and analysis of as-built data for historical preservation and archeology. The Focus Laser Scanners allow for the complete and precise capture of as-built data in HDR colors. Our software enables the quick processing of deliverables, such as orthophotos, 2D plans and 3D models.

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