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.
Trimble Dimensions 2018, which was held last month at the Venetian in Las Vegas, saw more than 4000 attendees from around the world. Ragan-Smith was in attendance sending David Briley (Survey Manager), Kevin Birdwell (Survey Director), and Sam Billingsley (Director of Reality Capture). Sam presented both on a panel about Trimble SX10 field to finish procedures as well as a deep dive into Trimble Business Center 5.0’s point cloud module. While RSA leverages hardware and software solutions form multiple manufacturers, our survey department recently upgraded all field crews to new Trimble data collectors, GNSS receivers and Total Stations. As Survey Director Kevin Birdwell remarked,
“While it’s great to have a chance to connect with other users, the conference provided the opportunity to work with the very people making the tools that we use each day. Those relationships are integral to our success as we continue to push these new technologies to benefit our clients.”
Best of all the next Dimensions conference will be held right here in Nashville in 2020!
Nashville’s OneC1TY development saw the erection of the world’s largest 3D printed structure this summer. The 20 ft x 40 ft (6 m x 12 m) pavilion was built by Branch Technologies of Chattanooga, TN using a design that does not require steel/non-printed supports. RSA’s Reality Capture Group is working with Branch Technologies to monitor the first of its kind structure through periodic mapping via terrestrial laser scanners.
I’ve been watching 3D printing for a long time now and even have a small one that I use at home. Even with that experience, it’s still amazing to see a 3D structure “in the wild” much less one of this size and significance given its prominence at the OneC1TY campus. – Sam Billingsley -Director, Reality Capture Group
Our Reality Capture Group has once again expanded their capabilities through the acquisition of a new 3D imaging system. The Leica BLK360 system is a short range 3D laser scanning system that bridges the gap between our indoor only devices like the Matterport Pro2 and our long range scanners like the Leica C10.
The BLK360 also offers new capture capabilities via an integrated FLIR Thermal Camera that allows us to map heat deviation in 3D. Additionally, the BLK360 greatly expands both the accuracy and the size of environments that are available in the Matterport ecosystem.
“I was contacted by Leica with a request to perform a hands-on review of the BLK360 for the SPAR Newsletter. After having it for a few weeks, I wrote my review and returned the unit to Leica. Over the following weeks as I was responding to RFPs I suddenly found myself in the position of thinking about how much more efficient I could be in the field if I still had that BLK360. Combined with the ability to capture large open areas for Matterport 3D Spaces, the BLK360 helps us expand our capabilities without having to increase the cost to our clients.”
– Sam Billingsley, Director – Reality Capture Group
Ragan-Smith is now using our Pro2 camera to create digital versions of models homes for our clients. The interactive presentation really stands out in a sea of PDFs and still images. This has proven especially valuable to those moving from out of town that are unable to visit the builder’s model home. This single interface allows users to view floor-plans, a “dollhouse” 3D model, or to explore the interior in an immersive style similar to Google “StreetView”; and all from data that can be embedded on your own website.
Additionally, custom builders are finding it to be a great way to let their clients “experience” a design as opposed to trying to understand design drawings. By capturing examples as they are completed, these builders are creating a library of design options that clients can view online or “walk-through” using VR goggles from Google Cardboard to the Oculus Rift!
Ragan-Smith recently competed field data capture of an alleyway near our office in Chattanooga, TN to assist with Passageways 2.0. Passageways 2.0 is a design competition to “enhance a new downtown alleyway in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga’s City Center”.
The competition is presented by River City Company, Cogent Studios, and Public Art Chattanooga as an opportunity to recreate an existing alleyway into a destination for pedestrians in downtown Chattanooga. Through an open RFP process, they sought “unique, innovative design concepts with a cohesive artistic vision from multi-disciplinary design teams”. Forty-five proposals were submitted representing 11 countries including the United States, Italy, France, Canada, Malaysia, India and China.
Three semi-finalists have been selected to further develop site specific designs to permanently activate the proposed alleyway and create a vibrant pedestrian corridor that is habitable and can be adapted for use as a small public event space. Ragan-Smith assisted by capturing the existing conditions with our Matterport Pro2 for site visualization and with our Leica C10 laser scanner to capture more accurate dimensions on the entire site. This data was then used to create a Building Information Model (BIM) of the site in Revit that was sent to the three semi-finalists to aid in the development of their construction plans.
A winning team and concept will be announced in Spring 2018 and installed Fall of 2018. Passageways 2.0 is made possible by generous grants from the Benwood and Lyndhurst Foundations. Keep up with the project and see the submissions on the Passageways 2.0 Website. You can visit the 3D Space yourself or view it through the video below.
Our Reality Capture Group recently expanded their capabilities through the acquisition of a new 3D imaging system. The Matterport Pro2 system is a short range 3D camera system that can aid in creating virtual environments and Google Street-view like websites. This acquisition has also allowed us to beging working with Leica Geosystems and Matterport to integrate the Pro2 with Leica’s BLK360 laser scanner. This Beta program is designed to connect both sensors through a single control system for data capture. By combining the best of each system, Ragan-Smith will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in capturing and modeling as-built environments at various levels of accuracy.
“We are really excited about this expansion of our capture capabilities. Since the inception of the Reality Capture Group here at Ragan-Smith, we have endeavored to continually add new sensors and mapping systems to the list of tools that we are able to leverage for the benefit of our clients. The Pro2 fits perfectly into this mission by enabling fast data capture and visual communication without requiring engineering grade services. We have also expanded our web services to host many of the 3D Spaces that we are now creating for our clients.”
– Sam Billingsley, Director – Reality Capture Group
Sam Billingsley, Director of the Reality Capture Group here at Ragan-Smith was asked to present at the 61st Annual Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association held this past February in Springfield, Illinois. Sam presented in the Reality Capture Workflow track along with Tom Bryant & Kelly Harris of Seiler Instrument, Matt Schrader of Hanson Professional Services, and Dave Kuxhausen of Woolpert. The focus of Mr. Billingsley’s presentation was using point clouds in the Trimble Business Center software suite (TBC). I can’t thank Seiler enough for the invitation to speak,” said Mr. Billingsley. “This was my first time attending IPLSA and it was rather impressive. I was able to attend some other sessions (which were quite informative) and met a lot of other TBC users that are getting into reality capture data.”
For a more thorough look at TBC, check out his “Hands on Review” for SPAR3D in this month’s newsletter!
Each year many of us take a moment to look back and re-tune before moving forward. In the reality capture space this is always about deciding how much time to spend in production versus professional development and R&D. Our Director, Sam Billingsley, discusses the matter on “Confession of a Hired Gun” with SPAR3D.
Ragan-Smith began 2017 with the goal of determining whether or not Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones in most peoples vocabulary, were ready for production work. We performed extensive tests in late Winter that were detailed in a post on UAV Accuracy and another on UAV Volumetric Surveying. To sum those tests up, we were not very happy with the results. To be sure, they demonstrated that there were some limited applications for which UAVs were well suited. However, we weren’t ready to take those services to market given the accuracy level that most clients expect when they come to Ragan-Smith for services.
However, technology is ever developing. While it’s been less than a year since those initial tests we felt compelled to revisit the subject. Despite the earlier results, we never quit testing UAV systems in-house. Between hard learned lessons in best-practices for data collection and improvements in the associated hardware and software systems Ragan-Smith is now using UAVs for data collection on an almost weekly basis. The point of launching a Reality Capture Group at Ragan-Smith was to be able to bring the most up to date technology to bear on every project so that we were always using the most efficient system available to capture the needed data to serve our client’s needs. Adding UAVs to our existing lineup of traditional survey technologies, laser scanning, and mobile LiDAR has made for an exciting 2017. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us!