Whether your firm is in civil engineering, architecture, or construction, you likely need to capture existing conditions of environments for projects. The prospect of capturing reality using photographs and laser scans is exciting, but is it right for you? Here’s how to determine if reality capture will benefit your business and how best to leverage this new technology.
In a recent article for Engineering News, Marc Howe wrote, “While 3D laser scanners are employed by a multitude of industries, including aerospace and defense, entertainment and media, energy, and healthcare, the advantage of the technology for business purposes are particularly demonstrable for the AEC sector, whose exclusive business is manipulation and control of the physical world’s corporeal particulars.”
This is true—the AEC industry enjoys enormous payoffs from scanning. The nexus of 3D laser scanning, the commercialization of 3D laser scanners, terrestrial and aerial LiDAR, and photogrammetry combined with design software has made reality capture a highly viable alternative for AEC firms in collecting precise survey data of structures and sites.
Reality Capture Streamlines Business Workflows
It also opens up new service offerings for firms. The successful implementation of reality capture requires a multi-step workflow:
- Hardware for data collection
- Software for post-processions and modeling
- Data Management
Delaying the implementation of reality capture is usually a result of hesitation. Using this technology as a cornerstone of your organization takes so much time. There’s a lot to learn and the price of entry is high, but worse results of that hesitation are losing out on future projects and bigger revenue.
On the other hand, taking the steps to harness scanning technologies has major payoffs:
- Enables the modeling and visualization of the actual conditions of a real-world site
- Allows the capture of “as-build” conditions
- Faster and more accurate than conventional surveying methods
- Reduces costly return visits to sites
- Minimizes the disruption of people occupying a facility or a site
- Facilitates the monitoring of jobsites to document project progress and also ensure safe practices
Reality Capture Business Feasibility Assessments Help You Figure Out if It’s Right for You
Professional service organizations perform feasibility assessments to determine what works and what doesn’t for your business—including reality capture. It’s a top-down analysis of how this technology can either confirm or disprove the benefits it can provide. Moreover, it gives you the chance to work alongside knowledgeable industry professsionals.
When selecting a partner to conduct this assessment, they should be able to:
- Address both 3D high-definition scanning and high-resolution photogrammetry gathered with drones
- Prove how hardware and software perform onsite under real-world environmental conditions and different types of lighting
- Provide a clear understanding of the capabilities of reality capture hardware and software
- Demonstrate post-processing, including the workflows needed to efficiently transform a point cloud into a finished, digital model
- Teach the benefits of reality capture technology and how to avoid common pitfalls
- Provide you with all the data generated during the assessment process
- Take into account if you plan to do your own scanning and post-processing, or if you plan on outsourcing
Firms come away with an understanding of which tools and training are necessary for efficient workflows that equal success, all without the commitment of an investment. These engagements show the entire process and enable firms to make an informed decision as to which parts of the process they want to take on and which aspects they want to outsource.
If your firm is considering use of reality capture, or if you are already applying some of these tools and are looking for new methods, you should consider the following questions to determine if an assessment is worth your time.
- Do you have the experience with both the hardware to capture built environment data and the software necessary to process point clouds into models?
- Do you know how to register multiple scans into one point cloud?
- Do you know how to geo-reference scanned data to real-world coordinates?
- Do you know how to effectively market the benefits of reality capture to your clients?
- If you are outsourcing scanning, does your team know how to specify data quality, purpose, and 3D positional accuracies from vendors to ensure that point cloud data will be delivered in a form that will be usable to your team?
CADsoft Consulting’s reality capture business feasibility assessments recognize that the “right solution” is determined by your project and business needs. Our professional service group has extensive expertise not only with hardware and software, but also with the workflows necessary to transform reality-captured digital data into design and engineering deliverables. We provide data capture, post-processing, modeling, assistance with customized training, project-based business assessments, and strategic business planning and project assistance. Our experience in multiple disciplines and how the data is used in design, facility management, and creating as-builts for renovation and retrofits, ensures that our services will meet your organization’s unique requirements. Contact us today.