Posts Tagged pointcloud

Get in the pool! Historic Santa YMCA Begins Its Journey to Return to the Community.

Pointknown tasked with creating a Revit model of an existing YMCA in Santa Ana CA utilized a variety of technologies to capture existing architecture on site. We used a FARO Focus, GeoSlam ZebRevo, Leica Distos and our own PKNail software. And grit, and coffee, and ladders.

Hi Jim, The model is fantastic… 1st Six Words Upon Delivery of our Santa Ana YMCA Revit Model

Troy Fosler – Koning Eizenberg

The historic YMCA located in the heart of Santa Ana abandoned over twenty years ago is set to go under a massive rehabilitation and afterwards be returned to the community.

The proposed renovation of a landmark YMCA built in 1924 will restore the building’s role as a central anchor in the community of Santa Ana. The project aspires to influence positive lifestyles through wellness & fitness programs designed for a variety of local stakeholders.

Having been involved in hundreds of renovation and reuse projects, it’s awesome to be part of one that can have such a huge impact on an entire community. Good on ya Santa Ana I’ll see you in the pool.

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3 Myths About Laser Scanning and Point Clouds for Architecture and the Built Environment

Warped curtain

Are laser scanners and their resulting pointclouds right for you and your project?  As with all lists, it is simplified and of my opinion.  Whether you want to trust my opinion, well that’s up to you, but my company Interioreview has, for over a decade, surveyed / drafted / modeled hundreds of buildings and starting in 2006 delivered Revit Models of existing buildings.  My company, PointKnown, has created an Add-In to Revit that allows you capture and model  buildings as you measure, in real time with a hand held laser.   Now that I’ve blown my own horn here are my top 3 Myths:

It’s Foolproof and Error Free.

Wrong.  I have not once received a model from a ‘pointcloud’ surveyor without dimensional errors in the model.  Not once.  Only because of our internal controls and surveying was I able to call out the errors and was not satisfied with other companies internal controls that the errors would have been found if my company had not found them.  Such that we now will do all the modeling in house.  Just because someone has a scanner does not mean they do it well.

From the “Analysis of The Accuracy of Terrestrial Laser Scanning Measurements” FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) Paper

it is concluded that features such as reflectivity, color, and brightness of the  object surfaces have impact on the quality of the data, therefore, although 3D point cloud data is very useful it should be considered that the data can be sometimes irregular and corrupted and thus not exactly reflecting the features of the scanned object.

It’s Easy to Produce a Model From a Pointcloud.

Holy cow, no.  How many technologies come into play to get a scan created, consolidated, registered, exported, modeled? First the hardware/scanner, whether it’s from Leica, Faro, whoever, they have their own software to manage the scan/cloud, and then you can export/import to Revit to use as a background to model over.  You can use other technologies to help with this process such as Scan to BIM, or to cut portions of the pointcloud you can use ReCap, export to Autocad and re-import that data into Revit, etc.  My point being there are a variety of methods to get from here to there but they are not necessarily consistent and have their strength and weaknesses, but you are using human power to make those decisions at each step.  And then you are essentially using the pointcloud to ‘trace’ over.  That is, you cut sections of the pointcloud in what ever view you are working in and trace over them.  Has the person ‘modeling’ the building ever surveyed a building?  Or have construction or architecture experience to know how a building should be put together.  Does the architect really want to see a wall with a .08 degree deflection of wall off 90 degrees because it will create numerous amount of Revit errors, and was it really there or was the pointcloud interpreted incorrectly?  There is no easy button.

It’s Cost Effective

Putting a scanning crew on site for a day is going to cost you between $3K-$4K typically, just to get the exterior of a building, with the pointcloud only, expect at least a 2 day buy in for between $6K and $8K, and that’s typically without going inside, and at the end you get the point cloud, not a Revit model. So a typical house, modeled from a point cloud, inside and out, best guess $8K-$10K.  12 Story Commercial Office Building, $50K+ and so on.  Maybe that’s in your budget, but if so why?  Why would you need to spend thousands of dollars to be told a room is square and has a 10′ ceiling?

Once dealing with the pointcloud, if you are dealing with it yourself, I hope you have a box/computer that is going to have a minimum of 16GB RAM, multicore XEON processor, etc. and ideally has a solid state drive, this is recommended by Autodesk for ‘pointcloud’  interactions.

You as a consumer of this data need to know what technologies are out there, your choices and their cost.  I have seen circumstances and white papers where laser scanning pays dividends many times over, most consistently in existing exposed MEP intensive facilities, think utilities, drilling platforms, power-plants and the like where having a accurate representation of all that data can allow people to retrofit power-plants with few change orders or zero defects.  Imagine an offshore construction platform that can lease for $100’s of thousands a day finishing early because of the accuracy of data, very good investment indeed even if it costs $200K to model it accurately.   However, do you need that kind of data for a commercial building or an adaptive reuse project?  How are you going to capture the interiors?  There are methods to capture the built environment accurately for your needs without wasting money and effort.

Conclusion

Start with the simplest model you need, dimensionally accurate, volumetrically correct using whatever technology that gets you there cost effectively and with a level of confidence.   Adding details to the model should be done dependent on scope and need.  Power-plant of a building, you may want to bring in a scanner to model the piping package, etc.  Accuracy of a historic structure that you may need to impact because of a project, sure scan it, but to scan an entire project is overkill in many circumstances no matter what you are told.  Scan where you need details added.  Know your options.  Your tool box needs more than a hammer.

 

 

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Pointools plugs in SketchUp : Use Point Clouds directly inside SketchUp Modeling Environment : BIM

Interestingly enough, while at Autodesk University, Pointools announced their plug in available for SketchUp.  Make the jump to read all about it, but I guess with this announcement maybe the next thing we’ll see is the Google car with a scanner on top instead of just a camera.  Google and Autodesk are now squarely in the same ring.

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Reality Capture #2 on Autodesk Labs Hit List : Project Galileo to join other tools. BIM

As reported by Matt Ball, Brian Mathews, the Autodesk VP in charge of Autodesk Labs,  gave a media briefing updating ‘his Seven Technology Trends lecture with example projects.’  Reality capture or as otherwise stated, turning analog into digital, being #2 on the hit list.  So capturing the Built Environment is starting to get serious traction, and while I hesitate to use the word traction, well, that’s what its getting.

Previously in the conversation  people would talk about all the wonderful things software can do for buildings, then you realize the majority of construction is in the built environment and it becomes, well just give me the building, or at lest the digital equivalent of the building and look at the wonderful things software can do, however, most presupposed the digital equivalent of the building.  Not anymore, more and more companies are releasing software and tools to capture the built environment, or call it reality capture if you like, but soon there are going to be a lot more tools on your shelf.

Autodesk has released, Project Photofly . and will soon release Project Galileo which according to its splash page, “is an easy-to-use planning tool for creating 3D city models from civil, geospatial and building data, and 3D models.”  Plus Autodesk has release shape extraction tools from PointClouds directly inside of AutoCAD.  Rand Technology/Avatech/Imaginit hybrid has released PointCloud manipulation tools inside of Revit and we are in the final beta of PKNail, a PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology) system that allows a user to drive Revit commands and enter dimensional data directly from a range finder allowing a user to build a Revit model in the field.  Plus we recently saw the beautiful kinect hack allowing a user to capture and even measure 3D video.  I can’t say which technology or mixture of technologies will work best for you, but your job is going to get easier.

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More firms entering the PointCloud from Photo Biz: Areoscan to launch shortly

While Autodesk labs has already made Photofly available for free over the web another competitor has thrown their hat into the PointCloud from Photos ring, Areoscan , and I have to say they are playing a game of catch up with Autodesk, who I believe already has a pretty good reseller network and did I mention Photofly is currently free.  Add to this battle that Autodesk most will likely have the functionality built into the next AutoCAD release and its a big hill they are starting to climb.  So I can’t say if there will anything new or compelling in order to pay for the service, unless they are going to fly you to their HQ in New Zealand for a personal demo.  And don’t get me wrong I am always rooting for new companies but right now cannot see how the services between Photofly and Areoscan differ, except Photofly is free and Areoscan is more difficult to pronounce.

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Autodesk taking as builts seriously : Photo Modeling and PointClouds in next release?

With all the stuff flying out of Autodesk Labs recently one maybe blinded by the technology slant rather than the strategy.  Looking specifically at Photofly and their new PointCloud tools with shape  extraction Autodesk is putting together a strong effort in capturing the built environment within their CAD platform.  Looking at the ribbon from an AutoCAD beta you can see that Photo Modeling and PointCloud are options available directly within the menu.

You can see these option on the far right, somewhat obscured by one of my feeds.  Yes, my blog formatting skills still need fine tuning.   Last time we researched this over 80% of construction in Boston was done within existing buildings. This new technology push with our own research dove tails nicely with the sustainable retrofit anecdotes.

I think it becomes more important that applications work within familiar platforms to not not only increase their adoption but also to incorporate into an existing workflow.  Asking anyone to learn a new platform is always a tougher hill to climb and most shops are standardizing their drafting/modeling on to one or two applications.

From a technology stand point, the more tools the more better because this has been a soft spot in the whole CAD/BIM world, that is I am working in an existing building, I use Revit, I used AutoCAD, okay, now where do I start.  Defining this will help everyone.

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