3D Reconstruction of the Steinaker Dam

Dr. Kevin Franke recently collaborated with the Provo area office of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to create a 3D reconstruction model of Steineker Dam near Vernal, Utah. During the fall of 2014, the dam experienced some minor sloughing in the riprap on the west upstream face of the dam, near the spillway. Due to the site’s proximity to the Vernal airport, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could not be flown at the site without proper FAA authorizations. However, the USBR chartered a manned helicopter flight, which carried BYU mechanical engineering student Dallin Briggs over the dam to capture optical images with a Nikon DSLR camera. Civil engineering students Joseph (Joe) Clark and Samantha (Sam) Ruggles assisted in the field research by surveying control points on the ground using GPS equipment. These points would subsequently be used by Joe and Sam to geo-reference the 3D reconstruction of the dam. Structure from motion (SfM) computer vision was used to process the optical images and to create a 3D point cloud model and digital elevation model (DEM).