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Montco Firm Sets Its Laser Sights on Preserving an Iconic DC Monument

By Brad Segall

ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) -- First it was a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed synagogue in Elkins Park (see related story).  Now, a Montgomery County forensic engineering firm will digitally preserve one of our nation's most recognizable monuments.

DJS Associates, based in Abington, will spend at least three days next week in Washington, DC, scanning the Lincoln Memorial -- both the statue and its surrounding building.

Working with the National Park Service and the nonprofit group CyArk, they hope to eventually digitally preserve all of the monuments along the National Mall.

DJS president Steven Schorr says data will be collected with laser scanners which will be used to create a 3-D model of the Lincoln Memorial -- important because of the recent vandalism there (see related story).

"That (green paint), luckily, was able to be removed without a problem," he notes, "but if there's some damage to a portion of the Lincoln Memorial, they don't have a blueprint that they can go back and replace or repair a portion of it."

That would have come in handy, he says, after the 2011 earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument.

The public will also be able to view the model online.

As for the cost, no taxpayer dollars are being used.  Schorr says DJS is picking up the tab.  They will use tripod-mounted scanners to capture the topography of most of the building, and handheld scanners for Abraham Lincoln's face, fingers, and other intricate shapes.

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