Efficient ≠ Simple

Sam Billingsley, Director of our Reality Capture Group, discusses some of the issues that surveyors and reality capture professionals address each day in an article for SPAR3D.com.

The ideas I speak of are nothing revolutionary to most of you. I’m just using georeferenced sensors to digitize reality in the most efficient ways possible. We’re combining static scanners, mobile LiDAR, photogrammetry, traditional survey, etc., so that we are always using the best tool to capture each asset on each job. These are the same concepts we’ve all been preaching through SPAR for more than a decade now. But here’s the rub; efficient does not equal simple.

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Reality Capture Being Used on Notre Dame Rebuild

Those of us in the reality capture space have been capturing everything we found interesting from the moment we got our first scanners. I have scans of every place I’ve ever lived, several landmarks in my area and, of course, lots of historic structures. Thankfully, I’m far from alone in my desire to “scan it all!”

In this report from CBS news we get a chance to look at some of the work done by Prof. Andrew Tallon and video game developer Ubisoft, both of which have spent thousands of hours capturing and modeling the iconic cathedral.

LiDAR’s Going Mainstream

For years I’ve struggled to explain all that Reality Capture is, does, and can do to aid in understanding our world. The power and breadth of applications is exactly the thing that makes an elevator pitch near impossible. Generally, I avoid generalities, and just pick a specific application or project that I think someone will find interesting and talk about that. The downside is that much of the power of Reality Capture resides in the ability to visualize information. Talking about it does not do it justice. While I’ve long recognized this fact, it was really driven home this week as I watched TV with my kids.

For most of this week the National Geographic Channel has been showing programs that highlight the uses of reality capture in the fields of archaeology and anthropology. In particular, the shows Lost World of the Maya and Lost Treasures of the Mayan Snake King clearly demonstrate how LiDAR technology is redefining our understanding of the Mayan world by focusing on the remote sensing being spearheaded by PACUNAM.org. For those unfamiliar with ReCap tech, these shows provide powerful examples of how georeferenced sensors are changing our understanding of our environment, our resources, and our history. …and according to my kids, they do a much better job than any of my stories!

Creating Creativity

One of the best things about working with reality capture technologies is the freedom it provides to exercise creative thinking. In fact, it’s a necessity given that the associated technologies are all so new (or at the very least new in their applications). As Sam Billingsley (Director of RSA’s Reality Capture Group) explores in his most recent article for SPAR3D.com, ReCap may not only draw creative types but help create them based upon how we share information.

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