Autodesk has been concentrating on incorporating their energy modeling tools into their workflow, so much so, they are now calling it Rapid Energy Modeling and have outlined a variety of ways to capture a building’s geometry digitally so you can run it through their energy modeling engines. They outlined the following techniques/methods as the most cost effective for capturing exisitng conditions. Full paper available here: rem_white_paper_2011
These are photographs of your building taken specifically for rapid energy modeling.
You can download oblique aerial images from Internet sites such as Google Earth or Microsoft®Bing™ mapping services. Alternatively, you can use images from commercial providers of geo-referenced aerial and oblique image libraries such as Pictometry.
Like aerial images, you can download orthogonal images of your building from sites such as Google Earth. RAPID ENERGY MODELING FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS
Laser distance meters
These low-cost laser meters are common surveying tools, and you can also use them onsite to capture key measurements of your building.
PointKnown was cited as the software to use when utilzing laser range finders and capturing a building in revit.
If you plan to capture existing conditions using a laser distance meter, you can use PKNail software from PointKnown (www.pointknown.com) to process those measurements and create a Revit model of your building. By inputting a few simple field measurements PKNail will build a Revit model of the existing structure, in the field, in real time.
This approach involves trained survey personnel that walk around the perimeter of a building and measure key points on the building. The PKNail software utilizes Bluetooth®-enabled laser distance meters to capture dimensional data in the field and send it directly to a laptop loaded with the Revit Architecture or Revit MEP. By capturing data in a specific sequence, the PKNail software creates a Revit model representing the skin of your building as it is being measured.
While we wait for the ‘magic wand’ that digitizes existing buildings while you walk through it, and when I mean digitize, I mean scaled, architectural objects that can be scheduled, processed, etc. more and more technologies are being developed to speed the ‘realty capture’ of buildings. The argument for using PKNail is that the exterior model you build is natively in Revit Architecture and if you want to move inside for interior wall partitioning, etc. for adaptive reuse, etc. you can do that all by utilizing the key pad interface and the laser meter.
Not changing the world just making your day to day a little easier, increase productivity, get more accurate, teeing it up so you can knock it out of the park.