19 Mar Widespread Acceptance of 360-Degree Imaging and 3D Scanning in the Building Document Industry
At the end of 2017, Photodocufy was represented at two of North America’s leading events in building documentation — the joint BIM Forum/USIBD (U.S. Institute of Building Documentation) Fall Symposium in Dallas, and Autodesk University (AU) 2017 in Las Vegas. The Photodocufy service has been running for four years, and our expertise in 3D scanning goes much further back than that, so we wanted to see how our services stacked-up against the technologies that the construction industry is now comfortable using.
BIM Forum and USIBD Fall Symposium
A resounding theme was that the building documentation industry is now familiar with what a 3D point cloud is. In a keynote address, Ken Smerz from Eco3d, a leading US-based scanning firm, proclaimed that, “Three years ago, we needed to explain what a point cloud was, now everyone knows [sic].”
Discussion for the rest of the event centered largely around quality assurance (QA), and questions related to the experiences required for the appropriate implementation of new technologies and workflows such as those related to virtual reality. Regarding QA, the Fall Symposium saw the release of USIBD’s newest version of its Level of Accuracy (LoA) framework. Due to the increased use of imagery for building documentation, an update on work so far completed by USIBD’s Imagery subcommittee toward a similar framework specification as LoA, but for photographs was also provided. Photodocufy’s Business Development Consultant, Will Tompkinson, now sits on this committee and will bring both a Canadian perspective and the experiences of Photodocufy to help shape the direction of this framework.
Termed “Reality Capture,” scanning technologies and 360-degree imaging systems were at the fore throughout the exhibition floor of AU. In addition to the many drone and 3D scanner vendors, at least four of the vendors featured hardware or software related to 360-degree imaging. This shows that there is increased acceptance across the wider building design and construction industry that 360-degree photographs are no different than any other type of photograph, other than each photo contains far more information. This leads to improved management of site documentation and increased efficiencies, as far fewer photographs are required.
Validation of Photodocufy’s experience
These events showed that awareness and acceptance of 360-degree imaging and 3D scanning is now recognized across end-users in the building documentation industry. However, many firms are still looking to see how best these technologies fit with existing procedures on the construction site and in the project management of the build. There can still be “teething problems” associated with implementing a new camera on site, understanding how to capture images most efficiently, or how best to manage or associate images with other information management systems that might be used.
Photodocufy already has the experiences of capturing, managing, and delivering 360-degree photographic documentation and 3D scanned as-built condition data, across multi-year construction projects. We understand the conditions when cameras perform at their best, and our survey background means that we know how best to plan a set of camera locations across a site that make sure that conditions after every building phase are consistently captured in their entirety. We use data management solutions that are proven to be cost-effective for our clients. Continually working with new types of imaging technology means that we can advise end-users on the implications of new trends in the marketplace.
We are pleased to see that we continue to be ahead of the curve in providing building documentation services that provide recognizable value to the building design and construction industry. Furthermore, as surveyors, our business has to be all about quality assurance, and so we are excited to be working with the new frameworks of USIBD. As we enter 2018, we look forward to guiding new clients, and the market in general, toward implementing site documentation procedures that will become second nature to the industry.