Cutting-edge digital scans of Forth Bridges set to be used in schools

Cutting-edge technology has brought to life the wonders of engineering for school kids across the city by scanning billions of points on the Forth Bridges to create games and virtual reality tours.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 8:47 am

Utilising 3D digital surveys of the three Forth Bridges, laser scans pinpointed huge swathes of the structures and the data has now been transformed into learning games, design and coding resources, a location-based app, real-time interactive models for virtual headset tours and video fly-throughs.

This pioneering use of new technologies by leading Scottish heritage institutions aims to inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers.

The new range of game-based learning resources was revealed for the first time by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney on a visit to South Queensferry.

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The cutting-edge tech will help schoolchildren with an interest in lifting the lid on engineering.

Mr Swinney said: “The embedding of the Forth Bridges into teaching resources helps to demonstrate to pupils the wonders of modern digital technologies and to the extraordinary civil engineering from three different centuries we see sitting across the Forth.

“These fantastic new resources provide a powerful combination of jaw-dropping archival construction photographs with digital data taken from the 3D survey.

“This is cutting-edge technology being used in highly innovative ways to engage and inspire school pupils right across Scotland. I have no doubt we will realise our aim of generating interest in the bridges themselves and to stimulate take up in associated science and technology subjects using these resources in our schools.”

Pupils from Queensferry Primary School had a chance to try out the new tools including a trip to the top of the Forth Rail Bridge.

Depute head teacher Alison McLean said: “One of the great interactive resources allowed the children to put on goggles and experience what the view was like from the top of the Forth Rail Bridge.

“It was amazing and an incredible way to be able to interact with these structures, particularly for our pupils who have watched the Queensferry Crossing being built from its infancy to its launch.

“These are brilliant interactive materials that will really bring alive the bridges for pupils.”

The £300,000 laser scanning project was one of the most challenging and complex 3D digital documentation projects undertaken anywhere in the world. In the future, the digital survey data for the three bridges may also be used to support monitoring and maintenance programmes as well as health and safety exercises, engineering calculations and historic reconstructions.