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Tridex creates digital 3D Imagery
of Sand Island Lighthouse

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sand Island Lighthouse was successfully scanned using a new type of device that combines a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) device with digital images from a high quality digital camera and survey quality GPS location information - all captured into a computer. The data we captured is considered high quality engineering data that is accurate enough from which we can actually build/rebuild things. This scanner is actually a sophisticated robot like device that draws stares and many questions when it comes out of its transport case. It reminds me of R2D2. :-)

Launching AL Lighthouse Assoc. boat from Dauphin Island
Click for enlargement

This is the first and only lighthouse in the world to be scanned with such a device using the patented "Life Dimensional Technology". Tridex Solutions Co-Founder/Director Robert Vashisth traveled to Dauphin Island from UTAH along with his assistant Mark Francis and braved the winter weather on Dec 6 2008 to meet Jim Hall and Warren Lee of the Alabama Lighthouse Association at first light at Billy Goat hole boat launch. The Alabama Marine Police was kind enough to keep a watchful eye on us for safety's sake. A special thanks to the Alabama Marine Police for this and the many other support functions they provide to the Sand Island Lighthouse!

Traveling out to the Sand Island lighthouse, we were luck enough to see an unusual amount of marine life along the way. Several independent dolphins and pods of dolphins seemed to escort us the entire trip. A kind of mystical well wishing by them to us or so it seemed. More dolphins were seen going back to Dauphin Island on our return trip as well. The first of these dolphins appeared at the very point where we launched the boat and we continued to see many different dolphins through out our stay at the lighthouse as well. What a treat for us all!

Landing the boat on the rocks!!
Click for enlargement
Arriving at the lighthouse we were greeted by a flock of pelicans who remained nearby meandering around us the entire day, flying around the lighthouse and floating or resting just off the lighthouse in the Gulf. These pelicans seemed to be supervising us all morning as we worked scanning the lighthouse. Again, this seemed very unusual since the noise of the generator and our very presence usually would have sent the pelicans flying off to Sand Island and seen them staying away from the lighthouse a great distance. Instead, they remained with us the entire day reclaiming the island just as soon as we departed. Sorry, I drifted off into my writers mind for a minute. You wanted to know about the scanner didn't you?
Tridex setting up equipment on one quadrant
Click for enlargement

The imagery we obtained has many uses for the lighthouse but the one I think you will enjoy the most, is soon we will be building an exact replica of the lighthouse as a 3D viewable model, which will be accessible to you using the Internet. This model will at first only have the exterior visible, but once we obtain the interior data we will add that to the lighthouse's virtual 3d model and you will be able to view the inside of the lighthouse as well. This will not be a photo show but a virtual 3D lighthouse that you can inspect from 360 degrees as well as fly up into the air to see from all angles and elevations.

Tridex Oh! Now I know what the white stuff is...
Click for enlargement
We will also be creating the most accurate, true scale model of the Sand Island Lighthouse ever constructed, using this data as well. Be sure to check back here often and learn where to purchase one of these models. Just as soon as we have them in hand, I will post the information on this blog on how to get one. Pretty neat stuff!
We will also use the Tridex data for future engineering when we are working on repairing the lighthouse and island construction projects. It will be invaluable for the future monitoring of hurricane damage as well.

The Alabama Lighthouse Association would like to thank the Tridex team for taking on this difficult task. Visit them at

12/08/2008 Warren Lee, Sand Island Lighthouse Chairman

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