Mountain Valley School ALTA Survey

Saguache, Colorado

Several years ago, officials with Mountain Valley School in Saguache, Colorado, embarked on a plan to bring their facilities into the 21st Century. Local voters got behind the concept in 2017 with a $3.72 million bond issue. That money, in turn, provided the match for a $27 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant.

As a result, the district plans to cut the ribbon on a new prekindergarten through 12th grade school in the fall of 2019.

Early in the process, school officials hired us to complete an ALTA land survey, meeting the joint standards of the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). The survey involved several parcels of platted and unplatted land.

Our survey crew used our Riegl VZ-400i terrestrial lidar scanner to collect high-resolution data from the school building, outbuildings, roads, playground, track, and football field. Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, uses laser light pulses to produce highly accurate 3D images consisting of millions of data points.

“Using a 3D lidar scanner we can gather so much more data,” said Laura Minchk, a surveyor in Olsson’s Denver office who uses the technology in her daily work. “The scanner takes a 3D snapshot in time.”

Because our lidar scanner was mounted on a hydraulic lift in the back of a pickup truck, we conducted portions of the school survey from inside the vehicle using a tablet computer. That translated to a safer, more efficient, and minimally disruptive solution for our client, always a plus in an environment where children are present.

Increased efficiency is just one benefit of lidar scanning. When clients understand how much more data they can obtain about their project sites, Laura said they frequently get excited about the technology

“To show clients their point cloud and share with them all the additional detail and information they can be extracting from the point cloud, it’s really fun,” she said.


Laura Minchk

Denver, CO


Get in Touch