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Exploring Nature's Remote Wonders Through the Lens of a Digital Twin

Black River Harbor Recreation Area Assessment, Ironwood, MI

The Black River Harbor Recreation Area (BRHRA) is a popular outdoor destination located in the Ottawa National Forest in the western part of Michigan's upper peninsula. Drawing millions of visitors annually, this area is celebrated for its stunning landscapes and significant natural features, providing a diverse range of recreational activities.

To enhance the visitor experience and safety at the BRHRA, MJ assessed the existing conditions and developed conceptual designs aimed at ensuring sustainable access to the waterfall viewing areas. The remote and rural location of the BRHRA posed significant logistical challenges to overcome, from the transportation of equipment to ensuring the safety of MJ’s team during the project execution.

MJ utilized 3D LiDAR to complete inspections. MJ’s survey crew used a wearable mobile scanner equipped with LiDAR sensors and 360-degree cameras. Data and imagery were imported into MJ’s web-based interface, MJ4D. This immersive digital documentation enabled the project team to explore a real-world digital twin directly from a web browser. The data was essential for developing the report and for future renovation efforts.

The combination of backpack and drone LiDAR data collectors allowed the crew to acquire data for structures and natural features that would be challenging and risky for conventional survey methods.

“For this project, the mastery of the advanced survey technology was one of the key advantages offered by MJ. The ability to provide an easily accessible virtual walk-through was great value-added, and could be a great tool for asset management - Ken Keeley, PLA, USDA Forest Service

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