World’s Fair Expert Plans to Scan Pavilion

World’s Fair Expert Plans to Scan Pavilion

Lori Walters uses her 3D laser scanner to capture digital images of a building near UCF.

A researcher at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training (IST) will help sear the magic of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair in the minds of a group of middle school students the first week of June as she leads a research project focused on laser scanning one of the remaining structures on the site.

Lori Walters, who also serves as an assistant professor of history, will lead a team of scanning technicians and 50-60 students for several days of work that will result in a complete 3D historical record of the Fair’s iconic New York State Pavilion.

Walters is doing the project voluntarily with the help of the non-profit organization CyArk which has set a goal of digitally preserving 500 of the world’s most renowned historical sites within five years.

“Giving a new generation of students access not just to the wonders of the Fair but to the wonders of cutting edge technology is beyond exciting,” Walters said.

The researcher has been interested in the Fair since she was a child. She studied history to satiate her thirst for knowledge about the 1950’s and 1960’s, especially the technological advances that occurred during that time.

Her work took a technological leap of its own when she affiliated with IST to reconstruct historical sites such as the launch pads of Cape Canaveral and the World’s Fair in an online format, making them accessible to the world.

For this latest project Walters will bring her FARO Focus 3D laser scanner to New York, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fair this summer, and teach the middle school students from neighboring Nassau County how to accurately capture the entire Tent of Tomorrow area of the New York State Pavilion. FARO is also providing the team use of one of their new Focus X 330 scanners that has the capability of capturing data as far as 330 meters. A representative from CyArk will assist in scanning and the piecing together or “stitching” of the scans to complete a digital model.

Her unique work has attracted the attention of media focused on the Fair’s anniversary, most recently in the May 27 Wall Street Journal.

Walters plans to give the data to the New York Parks Department to help preserve the authenticity of the structure should the city decide to either renovate it and to serve as a historical representation if it is ultimately torn down.

“Whatever happens to these historical structures future generations will always have access to them in the form of these scans,” Walters said.