CYDIS' state-of-the-art survey tools have reduced the time required to find the right information in a 3D dataset by 40% to 80%. While this reduces manual monitoring, it can also significantly reduce the cost of the survey.
Although only beginning to gain traction in many areas, the practice is creating a renaissance in 3D surveying. Reality Capture and point clouds offer a competitive advantage to companies that use them on a recurring basis.
Here is our list of the top 5 industries that can benefit from point clouds, Reality Capture and 3D models.
Point clouds are a dynamic storage technology that drives the mapping of spatial data, enabling 3D surveying and modeling of physical space. For construction projects that rely on planning and precision, the ability to create accurate 3D models offers obvious practical applications.
The intricacies of an existing site can be captured in great detail to produce a 3D model which then forms the basis for planning. Construction schedules can be produced without repeated site visits by all specialists involved in creating these plans. This provides significant added value for renovation projects, but is a valuable asset to any construction team.
The value of 3D models created from point clouds does not stop at the planning stage. Surveys can be performed at different phases of the project, recording each step to ensure that the work performed is in accordance with the plan. This allows for better quality assurance and faster identification of errors. These types of surveys facilitate the use of prefabricated materials and advanced manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing - which lower costs and increase efficiency.
Construction is already undergoing a digital shift: BIM (Building Information Modeling) is becoming an industry standard for planning and modeling, making the use of 3D data more commonplace in larger segments of the construction team. The use of point clouds and BIM simultaneously enhances the value of the other, creating better digital BIM models shared across the construction team.
The use of Reality Capture to create BIM drawings is so useful that it has been given a name: "scan-to-BIM". Large construction projects have long used Reality Capture and point clouds. But, in 2019, construction teams of all sizes need to reevaluate how they deploy point clouds and ensure they are taking advantage of all the logistical, planning and quality assurance benefits they can gain from this powerful set of technology tools. Point cloud technology is an essential investment for any project manager.
# 2. Architecture
While the use of point cloud and BIM technology can be used at every stage of the project lifecycle, design teams will benefit tremendously.
With improved access to initial site data through Reality Capture, point cloud surveys can be transmitted directly to architects, allowing them to design with the existing site in mind. The 3D models can then be shared within the team, allowing architects to collaborate with structural and materials engineers. This pushes the boundaries of what is possible to design and then build.
Point clouds bring new improvements to quality guarantees as projects progress. Digitizing the various stages of a project as it progresses allows these technical design limitations to be pushed as far as possible, and the ability to verify the quality of 3D printed and prefabricated materials allows these manufacturing decisions to be made in design models.
Rendered drawings, plans and sections can provide sub-millimeter accuracy, allowing for the best proposed layout and structural integrity testing during these phases of architectural development.
# 3. Urban planning and civil engineering
Point clouds provide detailed information about complex physical spaces that can be explored and manipulated in a digital medium. This is exactly what city planners and civil engineers need to become more efficient. Improved recording and processing technology provides the efficiency and accessibility needed for detailed mapping of a city.
This is another area where BIM collaboration techniques further multiply the value of investments in Reality Capture and point clouds. Professionals with unique skills related to point clouds and BIM can collaborate together on complex projects.
Urban planning and engineering teams are increasingly tasked with creating smart cities built around the concepts of efficiency, sustainability, economic development, and improving the quality of life for workers and residents. The complexity of these challenges makes the adoption of point clouds particularly useful because of the broader field of view and creates efficiencies in manual processes that free up time to focus on these new tasks.
The ability to render drawings and models from analyses of existing buildings and land opens the door to strategic positioning of buildings, roads, and other critical elements that help a smart city unlock its true potential. Implementation through digital representations can predict immediate appearance and function but, more importantly, help planners anticipate future developments.
Integration with 3D city plans allows for the management of large data sets while the continuous production of geographic data sets allows for ongoing analysis of how people use the city. Dynamic designs further utilize cameras and other modern technological facilities alongside 3D mapping for increased levels of detail for complex planning of renovations and new construction throughout the city.
The desire to improve urban planning through advanced civil engineering goes back centuries. In the 21st century, point clouds are the key to getting it right.
# 4. Computer aided manufacturing
Point clouds provide instant access to a range of drawings and models that can help test ideas in a virtual environment, custom design and test manufacturing results against planning. All of these factors are a huge benefit of computer-aided manufacturing.
CAM industries rely heavily on intelligent designs, so the accurate readings produced by laser scanners can play an integral role in development.
Scanning finished products or prototypes to create digital designs that can be integrated into CAM processes is just one example. The ability to quickly create CAM designs based on handcrafted models allows for the rapid creation of custom CAM products. If no retooling is required, it can even make it cost-effective to produce affordable, limited-release products using CAM techniques.
3D modeling unites IT, engineering, and product design to streamline processes and optimize collaboration across departments. It compartmentalizes the manufacturing journey while providing transparency and detail that could not be achieved without the use of point clouds.
Computerized manufacturing requires accuracy because even the smallest margins of error can cause significant problems with final designs and production runs. Point clouds allow the creation of accurate 3D models. Using them as a quality assurance mechanism, by scanning the finished product as it comes off the assembly line, provides total assurance that what is produced matches the specifications.
CAM has been around for generations but has evolved over time. The introduction of point clouds is the ultimate way to encourage smoother processes and communication within the team. Producing 3D representations and digitized renderings streamlines the entire process, allowing teams to work with confidence. Simplified point cloud recording and processing technology makes it easy to deploy on the go and affordable to use repeatedly throughout the CAM process.
# 5. Digital design
The boundaries between the digital world and real-world environments are more blurred than ever. Point clouds and 3D modeling allow you to compare the virtual to the real with ease, flexibility and accuracy with real-time changes that can be viewed by an entire team. Therefore, building on the ideas embraced by architects and CAM specialists, the use of technology can be transferred to a world of different digital design environments.
Point cloud investigations can be used to interact with the real world when manipulating digital designs for defined products in a virtual environment. Game designers can replicate real-world scenarios in the virtual arena, whether it's a sports stadium or a city, to deliver an authentic gaming experience. Meanwhile, VR development teams are able to use 3D drawing and modeling for interactive digital representations that ultimately lead to greater accuracy in the final digital product. This can be used for pre-project clients as well as for consumers in the entertainment industry.
From CAM extrapolation to garment design and simple manufacturing ideas, design teams are increasingly eager to discover how point cloud and Reality Capture technologies - especially advanced options that provide faster results through automation - can be absorbed into their current techniques for greater efficiency. This pushes the boundaries of design, especially in terms of expressing proposed innovations in the pre-production phases.
Point clouds can be used in many aspects of digital design and should be embraced by all professionals looking to capitalize on the plethora of opportunities presented by the futuristic landscape.