The Forth Dimension: Bridges go virtual to teach children engineering


Following one of the most complex projects of its kind, extremely detailed 3D scans of the Forth Bridges could be used in interactive games promoting engineering skills to school children.

The £300,000 scanning project took place in 2015 and included 90 days of digitally documenting the bridges on foot, from ropes, vehicles and boats.

Click to 3 minutes in to see the 3D mapping


It amassed a data-cloud of many billions of dimensionally accurate points on the structures of the Forth Bridge, Forth Road Bridge and the partially built Queensferry Crossing.

The scans have already been of use as they had only just been undertaken when maintenance issues forced the Forth Road Bridge to close last winter. The engineers were able to use the scans as part of diagnosing and solving the problem with the truss-end links, Transport Network understands.

Now Transport Scotland has announced a further grant of £425,000 to enable work on learning games, augmented reality apps, real-time interactive models for virtual headset tours and video fly-throughs for release in 2018, all aimed at developing skills in Scottish schools.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: ‘If the bridges are a globally unique showcase of Scotland’s world-class engineering skills, this amazing 3D scanning project also showcases the world-leading design, research and innovation in our higher education institutions.

‘The possibilities for this comprehensive digital data are almost endless. It allows the production of detailed information and tools for conservation, educational resources, improving accessibility and delivering virtual records to help health and safety training as well as promoting tourism.’


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