Day: July 15, 2016

Laser Scanning Technology

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Reality capture is no longer the future of 3D conceptual modeling – it’s the present. This is good news for beginners and experts alike in the conceptual modeling, building, and renovation sphere, as 3D imaging technology is now more user-friendly and accessible than ever before.

Reality capture allows you to create 3D models of real-world objects that you can edit, annotate, and measure. By working with landscapes, construction sites, and designs in the virtual world before executing on them in reality, your projects become smoother, safer, and more efficient. Not to mention, companies see a huge ROI when applying these tools to their projects.


There are two main workflows used to create reality data:

  1. Photograph-based data requires you to take photographs of real-world scenes (usually for surveying landscapes or construction sites) to create reality data/ a virtual model. The industry term used to describe this process photogrammetry or the turning photos into point clouds.
  2. Laser-scan based data involves taking laser scans of a landscape or building and uploading them to reality computing software. This process is often used for renovation and construction projects.

Once you’ve captured photographs or laser scans of the object you want to model, Autodesk’s ReCap 360 Pro can automatically stitch the files together to create a high-resolution model such as a point cloud or a textured mesh. These models are optimized for use in other hero products by Autodesk, like AutoCAD, Revit, and Infraworks. If you’ve captured a landscape, you can create an orthographic view and add geographic points to your data to more accurately measure it. The benefits of this are far-reaching, including:

  • Collecting as-built data of a site
  • Avoiding costly rework requests by updating your client with visuals of your progress
  • More accurately measuring your building materials and assets on-site
  • Making sure assets arrive on-time and are delivered to the right location
  • Providing clients with updates throughout a project, so you can invoice at milestone markers rather than all at once at the end of a project

In the conceptual modeling sphere, reality capture allows you to design within the context of the surrounding landscape. For example, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located just outside of Denver, Colorado, is flanked by natural rock face that would be impossible to document by hand. However, one team was able to capture the historic site through aerial imaging by attaching a GoPro to a drone and flying over the site. With the contextual landscape, they were able to document the landscape so it can now be monitored and preserved, and stage engineers have the ability to test sound and lights virtually before the show.


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AutoDesk Recap

Mapping Singapore in 3D

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Bentley Map is instrumental in Singapore Land Authority’s production of 3D map data and city model for all of Singapore – more than 700 square kilometers. Singapore Land Authority employed multiple rapid mapping technologies such as oblique imagery, airborne laser scanning, mobile laser scanning, and terrestrial scanning, resulting in more than 50 terabytes of data in multiple formats.

3D Citymodel 02

 The challenge was managing and updating the data. Using Bentley Map, the project team created, maintained, and disseminated 3D information directly from Oracle Spatial and provided multi-user access to the database through direct connection and Web Feature Services (WFS).

The 3D map data and CityGML models will be shared among government agencies and partners and will support Virtual Singapore and Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative which involves innovative and comprehensive use of technology and research to improve quality of life and business opportunities. The use of open standards (CityGML and LandXML) and services (WFS) will enable stakeholders to use the data immediately without revamping their existing computer systems. The common information model, CityGML, facilitates the linking of data, computer systems, and services. This will reduce costs associated with interoperability issues.



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3D point cloud software in the geospatial industry has been steadily improving as LiDAR and 3D imaging technologies have rapidly evolved.  New innovative breakthroughs have now made it possible to move from traditional, limiting data management techniques to instantaneous data access and visualization.

Screenshot 2016-06-27 08.09.44

Recent technological developments such as Semi-Global Matching (SGM) and Structure from Motion (SfM) are creating enormously dense and massive 3D point clouds.  These technologies along with hardware advancements of terrestrial, mobile, and aerial LiDAR scanners are generating huge datasets that contain an enormous amount of exploitable detail.  End users are often not able to take advantage of all the data.

A new revolutionary approach offers a solution to access and visualize unlimited amounts of data density and size in real-time on a typical workstation or laptop.  By providing real-time visualization and 3D data retrieval, decision makers are afforded unbounded access to all full resolution data for rapid and enhanced decision making.

A new revolutionary approach offers a solution to access and visualize unlimited amounts of data density and size in real-time on a typical workstation or laptop.  By providing real-time visualization and 3D data retrieval, decision makers are afforded unbounded access to all full resolution data for rapid and enhanced decision making.

This solution now provides the ability to host 3D point cloud data in a central repository for enterprise dissemination and visualization.  Fast and usable internet streaming of dense 3D data is also now available.  As this technology matures, user specific data analysis tools will be developed providing instant data access and manipulation allowing for improved data quality and more efficient project turnaround. The grey line between real world and virtual world is rapidly becoming smaller.

The power of this technology in the current Geoverse COTS software is apparent, allowing users to rapidly disseminate their data across the country from one central storage server.  Developers of analytical geospatial software are now embracing the new breakthrough.  Hexagon has their new point cloud format – .HPC for streaming across the Internet.

Merrick & Company is currently developing its long-standing LiDAR production software MARS© to incorporate the Unlimited Detail (UD) technology which will dramatically increase production times and allow our users to more efficiently manage their LiDAR projects.  Other special development geospatial projects are ongoing such as the Ball Aerospace / Merrick & Company “Server in the Sky” – placing UD at the sensor head for real-time streaming from the sky to ground.

The future is exciting and the possibilities are endless.  Scan away, we can now handle any amount of point cloud data!

Please contact Josh Beck, GISP for additional information –