Integrated BIM, 3D and Geospatial – Finally

It’s been a long time coming – like 35 years, but we are finally seeing progress on the integration of CAD and GIS in a BIG way by true standards organizations, not trade groups or professional orgs.

AEC industry veteran and visionary Geoff Zeiss beat me to the punch with his two blog posts on recent announcements by the OGC and buildingSMART. Geoff and I are on the same wavelength about the importance and potential of these new standards that are now out for comment and we have been for a long time.

The OGC effort has laid the foundation for an integrated data model for infrastructure and the buildingSMART is doing the same for BIM and site. And believe it or not they are actually working together to combine the two. Can I get an “AMEN!”

Truly exciting times.

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Reality Computing for Infrastructure

2_LiDARMy long time friend Terry Bennett has written an important article entitled, “Reality Computing for Civil Infrastructure” that was published in Informed Infrastructure. Terry has a unique, global perspective in his role as senior industry program manager and chief strategist for civil infrastructure at Autodesk.

The concept of “reality computing” is an important one, but it’s not easily defined. I think Terry provides some insight here:

Therefore, the integration of the physical world into the digital design and delivery process is particularly important for civil infrastructure projects. Reality Computing technologies help civil engineers digitally capture existing conditions of the area below and around a proposed infrastructure project, digitally design the project in the context of that setting, and digitally reshape existing terrain and build new infrastructure.

What do you think?

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Lidar Not Needed on Driverless Cars

As a follow-up to last week’s post on low cost, driverless car navigation this article in EE Times explains that Ford is financing the research. There is good news and bad. It does not look like lidar sensors are going to be used on the production vehicles. However, highly detailed 3D databases are going to be needed which will most likely be derived from lidar data collections.

University of Michigan professor, Ryan Eustice, told EE Times, “Once the lidar reference map is derived, only a single forward looking monocular camera is needed to use the localization framework. Hence enabling low-cost applications of this technology.”

The researchers claim the technique gives them centimeter accuracy for up to $10,000 less than the expensive 3D laser scanning technologies used by others researching self-driving cars such as Google. The key is to create a real-time self-driving map by making thousands of comparisons per second between a survey 3-D map stored in the car’s system or streamed over the cellular network.

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OSU VR Cave and More in LN eNewsletter

The Civil and Construction Engineering Geomatics Research Lab at Oregon State University (OSU) has constructed an Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) visualization system for the purpose of visualizing digital three-dimensional (3D) data, more specifically, lidar point clouds, and digital elevation models (DEMs).

This story and much more is available in the latest LiDAR News eNewsletter.

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Industry Pros Explain Mobile Lidar

In this 60-minute webinar, join Stephen Ellis and Joseph Romano as they highlight how Langan is using mobile LIDAR as an alternative to conventional scanning solutions to acquire data and how they’re altering perceptions, both internally in their firm and externally with clients, as to how the data can be used. You’ll learn:

• How mobile mapping can synergize workflows across agency departments
• How to market the full capabilities and diverse uses of the data to clients
• How to demonstrate and build confidence in the data’s accuracy compared to other acquisition methods

It takes place Thursday January 22, 2015 from 2 PM to 3PM EST.

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Your Trusted Living Point Cloud

That is an interesting title for a presentation. If you want to get the details you will have to attend the LFM User meeting February 5, 2015 in Houston, Texas. Lidar News will be reporting on the details of this event so stay tuned.

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Using Lidar to Understand Vantage Point

Researchers at Boise State are reporting on their use of lidar to better understand vegetative cover, from the vantage point of the animals.

In November of 2014, a group of universities published a paper titled “Fearscapes: Mapping Functional Properties of Cover for Prey with Terrestrial LiDAR.”

According to Jordan Nobler, masters student in biology, the paper was meant to serve as proof that LiDAR can be used effectively.

“In traditional methods you have to pick and choose what vantage points you get,” he said. “You can’t go and get a comprehensive view of every possible vantage point from every possible height.”

“(LiDAR) allows us to assess climate change’s impact on structure,” Forbey said. “Now let’s say you put in a power line for energy development. Now you get a look from the perspective of a raptor sitting on a power line and if that makes it scarier for the prey down on the ground using shrubs for cover.”

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Low Cost 3D Nav for Vehicles

A recent article in R&D magazine reports on the development of a low cost video camera – based driverless vehicle navigation system. Ryan Wolcott, a University of Michigan doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering, estimates that it could shave thousands of dollars from the cost of these vehicles.

The technology enables them to navigate using a single video camera, delivering the same level of accuracy as laser scanners at a fraction of the cost. His paper detailing the system recently was named best student paper at the Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Chicago.

His system builds on the navigation systems used in other self-driving cars that are currently in development, including Google’s vehicle. They use three-dimensional laser scanning technology to create a real-time map of their environment, then compare that real-time map to a pre-drawn map stored in the system. By making thousands of comparisons per second, they’re able to determine the vehicle’s location within a few centimeters.

Wolcott’s system uses the same approach, with one crucial difference—his software converts the map data into a three-dimensional picture much like a video game. The car’s navigation system can then compare these synthetic pictures with the real-world pictures streaming in from a conventional video camera.

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Lincoln’s Retreat Preserved

An experimental project is being conducted at a historic location on a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. The beautiful cottage built around 1842 in the Gothic Revival style was used as a summer retreat by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

In one of its rooms, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, effectively ending slavery in the United States.

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Novel Indoor Mapping System

orb-prototype-650x433A novel indoor measuring system based on laser scanning was developed at Aalto University. It paves the road for automatic point cloud generation from indoor environments. By solving the scanner localization from the point cloud data, the scanner can operate without navigation systems. The first research article concerning the development has already been published.

It certainly is a unique design. I am trying to find out more about this system.

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