Laurel Hill Adaptive Reuse Area Ground Supplemented Photogrammetric and LIDAR Scanning Survey



  • Multi-phased Fairfax County DPWES project
  • Major adaptive reuse project
  • Ground supplemented photogrammetric survey
  • LIDAR scanning of historic structures

Project Background: Following the Federal government transfer of 2,300 acres of property at Laurel Hill to Fairfax County, the County initiated an adaptive reuse study for developed areas. Over a number of years the County worked with residents and Board of Supervisors’ appointees and task forces to develop plans for the future use of the area. In addition to other measures the Master Planning Process provides for the redevelopment of the 80-acre County-owned prison in Lorton.

The facility, formerly a part of the D.C. Department of Corrections includes the former reformatory which includes over 40 buildings. These include dorms, an auditorium / hospital and gymnasium, and the former penitentiary, which consists of 15 structures including cellblocks, towers, and a cafeteria. In the spring of 2010 the Board of Supervisors approved the Laurel Hill Master Plan (Phase I) and authorized County staff to begin negotiations with a development company for (Phase II) of the process.

Work Performed: As part of the adaptive reuse planning process, the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services engaged Rice Associates to perform photogrammetric mapping and terrestrial LIDAR scans of the site, building faces and courtyards.

Rice Associates utilized existing aerial imagery to map the facility at a scale of 1″=25′ with DTM for one foot contours and acquired new aerial imagery for mapping at a scale of 1″=200′. The firm assisted the County in obtaining the required clearances to enter the restricted air space by preparing the Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) letter to be signed by the County as well as filing the document with the government. In an effort to minimize expense and to assist the County with the identification of trees individual, trees were photogrammetrically collected throughout the project even in wooded areas.

The scanning data was acquired to serve multiple purposes. Initially, the data is used to supplement the Rice Associates aerial topographic mapping and secondly for historic preservation of proposed adaptive reuse housing.

Due to the historic nature of the building, the exterior facades are being preserved as much intact as possible. The scans will allow facilities personnel to have an accurate picture in time of the structures pre-construction allowing for exact replication of details during and after construction. The data will also be used for establishing ADA compliance with sidewalks, door openings and windows. Vast amounts of scanned data were captured at the same time and will be processed as funding becomes available and development progresses.