Kodak Office Tower Laser Scanning

Erdman Anthony was hired to assist a specialized team of architects with exterior repair and restoration of the historic world headquarters of Eastman Kodak Company in downtown Rochester, NY. The lower 15 stories of the Kodak Office tower were originally built in 1913. The top four stories, mansard roof, and cupola, which were added in 1930, are adorned with terra-cotta tile. A recent study had addressed problematic deterioration and cracks in the tiles, and the results of the study prompted Kodak to begin efforts to restore the façade.

Accurate and detailed elevation drawings of the tower were critical to the success of the project and were to be used as a base for documenting existing conditions as well as for the design of restoration work.

Using 3-D laser scanning technology, Erdman Anthony took less than two weeks to scan the entire exterior of the building, obtaining approximately 84,000 square feet (surface area) of 3-D façade data. Multiple scans were made of the tower from 32 vantage points around the building. These individual scans were then "registered" together to form one point cloud of the overall tower. Prior to scanning, a network of GPS control points was set up around the tower. By scanning targets, which were set up over these control points, along with the face of the tower, each scan was related to a common coordinate system and elevation datum. In this case, the datums were the New York State Plane Coordinate System North American Datum (NAD) 1983 and the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) 1988. By tying the scans to these commonly used datums, the tower is now on an easily reproducible spatial reference system.

Erdman Anthony collected points in each scan on a 1 cm x 1 cm grid. By overlapping adjoining scans, the final point data grid was of an even higher resolution. In all, the final point cloud was made up of over 60 million points. As a quality control check, Erdman Anthony personnel went back to the building to field check the drawings from safe locations, such as balconies and the upper promenades. This field edit verified that features had been mapped to a level of detail of at least ¼ of an inch.

Erdman Anthony was able to provide the project architect with cost-effective, accurate, to-scale drawings, showing parts of the tower's façade in intricate detail. The project's architectural restoration specialists then used these elevation drawings to record the condition of the building tile-by-tile. Without these drawings, the architect would have had to rely on a much more laborious and error-prone method of hand-measuring and sketching façade components, or rely on non-scalable photographs.

An unusual consideration was the presence of Mariah, the peregrine falcon that had nested at the top of Kodak tower each year to raise chicks. Mariah was a community icon and disturbing her or her brood was a major concern. By using the laser scanning technology, Erdman Anthony captured Mariah's home and immediate habitat without disturbing anyone. In fact, Erdman Anthony crews were on-site during the week that the falcon chicks hatched.

Utilizing laser-scan-generated drawings, Erdman Anthony enabled the architectural team to spend less time in a dangerous situation; cut the likelihood of error by reducing the amount of manual data collection required; allowed an extraneous consideration--Mariah the peregrine falcon-- to remain in the area without disturbance; and brought timeliness and accuracy to the Kodak Office Tower project. 

Project Accolades

  • Project Awards
  • 2009 Platinum Award - American Council of Engineering Companies, New York (ACEC)

Project Details


Rochester, NY


Eastman Kodak Company

Project Contact

Bryan Merritt, PSM/LS
  • Bryan Merritt, PSM/LS
  • 561-753-9723 x 6017
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