Advances in point cloud recording and processing are rapidly expanding the applicable scenarios for using Reality Capture and 3D modeling. The state-of-the-art surveying tools distributed by CYDIS have reduced the time it takes to find the right information in a 3D dataset from 40% to 80%. While this reduces manual monitoring, it can also significantly reduce the cost of the survey.
Even if it is only beginning to gain ground in many fields, the practice is on the way to creating a renaissance of the 3D survey. Reality Capture and point clouds offer a competitive advantage to companies that use them repeatedly.
Here is our list of the 5 main business sectors that can benefit from point clouds, Reality Capture and 3D models.
# 1. Construction
Point clouds are a dynamic storage technology that controls the mapping of spatial data, allowing 3D surveys and modeling of physical space. For construction projects that rely on planning and precision, the ability to create precise 3D models offers obvious practical applications.
The intricacies of an existing site can be captured down to the smallest detail to produce a 3D model which then forms the basis of planning. Construction schedules can be produced without repeated site visits by all of the specialists involved in creating these plans. This offers significant added value for renovation projects, but is a valuable asset for any construction team.
The value of 3D models created from point clouds does not stop at planning. Surveys can be carried out at different stages of the project, taking note of each step to ensure that the work carried out is in accordance with the planning. 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 reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Construction is already going digital: BIM (Building Information Modeling) is becoming an industry standard for planning and modeling, making the use of 3D data more common in larger segments of the construction team. Using point clouds and BIM simultaneously improves the value of each other, creating better digital BIM models shared by the entire construction team.
Using Reality Capture to create BIM diagrams has been 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 reassess how they deploy point clouds and make sure they take advantage of all the logistical, planning and quality assurance benefits they can learn from this powerful set of technological tools. Point cloud technology is a critical 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 life cycle, design teams will benefit immensely.
Improved access to initial site data thanks to Reality Capture, point cloud reports can be transmitted directly to architects, allowing them to design taking into account the existing site. 3D models can then be shared within the team, allowing architects to collaborate with structural and materials engineers. It pushes the boundaries of what can be designed and then built.
Point clouds bring further improvements to quality guarantees as projects progress. The digitization of the different stages of a project as it progresses makes it possible to push these technical limits of the design as far as possible and the possibility of checking the quality of the 3D printed and prefabricated materials allows these manufacturing decisions to be taken in design patterns.
Renderings of drawings, plans and sections can provide accuracy of less than a millimeter, allowing for the best layout proposal and structural integrity testing during these phases of architectural development.
# 3. Town planning and civil engineering
Point clouds provide detailed information about complex physical spaces that can be explored and manipulated on a digital medium. This is exactly what urban planners and civil engineers need to be more efficient. Improved recording and processing technology provides the efficiency and accessibility necessary for detailed city mapping.
This is another area where BIM collaboration techniques further increase the value of investments in Reality Capture and point clouds. Professionals with unique skills related to point clouds and BIM can collaborate on complex projects.
Urban planning and civil engineering teams are increasingly responsible for creating smart cities built around the concepts of efficiency, sustainability, economic development and improving the quality of life of workers and residents. The complexity of these challenges makes the adoption of point clouds particularly useful due to the wider field of vision and creates efficiency gains in manual processes which free up time to focus on these new tasks.
The ability to render designs and models from analyzes of existing buildings and land opens the door to the strategic positioning of buildings, roads and other crucial elements that help a smart city unlock its true potential. Implementation through digital representations can predict immediate appearance and function but, most importantly, help planners plan for future developments.
Integration with 3D city maps makes it possible to manage vast data while the continuous production of geographic datasets allows continuous analysis of how people use the city. Dynamic designs also use 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 dates back several 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 variety of plans 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 advantage of computer aided manufacturing.
The FAO sectors rely heavily on intelligent designs, which is why the precise readings produced by laser scanners can play an integral role in development.
The scanning of finished products or prototypes to create digital designs that can be integrated into CAM processes is just one example among many. The possibility of quickly realizing CAM designs on the basis of artisanal models allows the rapid creation of custom CAM products. If no retooling is required, it can even make it affordable to produce affordable, limited-release products using CAM techniques.
3D modeling unites IT, engineering and product design to streamline processes and optimize collaboration between different departments. It compartmentalizes the manufacturing process while providing transparency and a level of detail that could not be obtained without the use of point clouds.
Computerized manufacturing requires precision because even the smallest margins of error can cause significant problems with final designs and production cycles. Point clouds allow the creation of precise 3D models. Their use as a quality assurance mechanism, by scanning the finished product when it leaves the assembly line, offers a total guarantee that what is produced corresponds to the specifications.
FAO has existed for several generations but has evolved over time. The introduction of point clouds is the ultimate way to encourage smoother processes and communication within the team. The production of 3D representations and digital renderings streamlines the entire process, allowing teams to work with confidence. Simplified point cloud recording and processing technology makes it easy to deploy this technology on the go and is affordable several times throughout the CAM process.
# 5. Digital design
The boundaries between the digital world and real environments are more blurred than ever. Point clouds and 3D modeling allow you to compare the virtual to the real with ease, flexibility and precision with real-time changes that can be viewed by a whole team. Therefore, building on the ideas adopted by architects and FAO specialists, the use of technology can be transferred to a world of different digital design environments.
Point cloud surveys 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, be it a sports stadium or a city, to provide 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 clients before a project as well as for consumers in the entertainment field.
From extrapolation to CAM to clothing design and simple manufacturing ideas, design teams are increasingly eager to discover how point cloud and Reality Capture technologies – especially the advanced options that provide faster results through automation – can be absorbed by their current techniques for greater efficiency. This pushes the limits of design, especially with regard to the expression of the innovations proposed during the pre-production phases.
Point clouds can be used in many aspects of digital design and should be adopted by all professionals who want to capitalize on the plethora of opportunities presented by the futuristic landscape.