3D Forensic Animations

accidentEmma Alberici from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation speaks with Craig Fries, the founder and chairman of Precision Simulations based in California, who has created or directed over 1,200 3D forensic animations for use in criminal and civil litigation.an expert in the field of 3D forensic animations.

It’s a well done interview that covers accuracy, admissibility, cold cases and more.


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hereOne of the more important issues to be discussed at the recent TRB AFB80 Committee meeting this week was the issue of 3D highway design models not being suitable for construction, particularly when automated machine guidance is being used to move the dirt and install the pavement. This creates major problems in the field.

I like to refer to this as the constructability of the model. Most highway design engineers do not understand and/or have the time consider this which has lead to a cottage industry of data takeoff pros who translate the design into machine control files that are not only more densely graded,but that recognize the limitations of the equipment.

This is not as much of an issue in vertical construction, but for horizontal the system is broken and it needs to be fixed. One idea might be to add a “Construction Engineer” into the workflow to cover these issues. Improved education of designers would also help.

What do you think?

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JRC Outperfoms

A team of researchers from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s in-house science service, has outperformed a global mix of 27 teams from academia and industry, achieving the best overall result at a recent Microsoft-sponsored indoor localization competition in Seattle – and 3D, real-time LiDAR sensor technology from Velodyne proved to be key to the victory.

The competition, organized annually by Microsoft, gathers teams to evaluate the performance of various localization systems. Providing accurate position information on people and objects indoors, where GPS signals are not available, has long been a challenge for governments and industry. The competition was carried out in two categories — infrastructure-based systems, pegged to installed radio beacons, and infrastructure-free systems, which rely only on sensor readings. The JRC competed in the infrastructure-free category, where it finished in the top spot, with a localization error of 0.2 m, which also surpassed the best result in the infrastructure-based category.

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terrain360Thanks to Michael Raphael for the heads up on this very interesting use of outdoor imagery. It’s not lidar, at least not yet, but it is a very cool use of panoramic photography.

Terrain360.com is your interactive trail companion providing 360 degree panoramic tours of some of the most beautiful terrain in and around Virginia. After an incredible day of hiking and kayaking down one of Virginia’s finest waterways, the founding partners of Terrain360.com beached themselves on an island and began brainstorming over what would soon become the most innovative trail mapping software to date. Motivated by the desire to share a love for nature’s most remarkable terrain, Terrain360 continues to push the boundaries of technical capabilities and usability in an effort to better enhance your next outdoor adventure.

Discover trails for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, water features for kayaking and rafting, competitive race terrain and much more. Connect and share stories with other adventure seekers in the Terrain360 Forum or preview trail and weather conditions to help plan your next trip.

Terrain360.com is absolutely free to use and available on all mobile and tablet devices for convenient access on-the-go! Make a new adventure. Explore a new trail. Discover a new perspective with Terrain360.

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TRB Committee Meeting

I’ll be in Indianapolis attending one of my favorite annual events the summer meeting of the TRB AFB80 committee meeting. This is the Geospatial Data Acquisition Technologies in Design and Construction and not only do we share ideas and information on the latest technologies and trends within the geospatial and geomatics industry as it applies to the DOTs we have also been known to have a little fun from time to time.

This year’s agenda includes presentations on the White House Perspective on Pipelines, Underground Utility Infrastructure by John Palatiello, A Road Map to Accuracy by Lewis Graham and A Proposed AFB80 Initiative with AASHTO from Curtis Clabaugh and that is just the first morning.

Stay tuned for updates from Indy.

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BIM Standard Released

BIMFollowing a multi-year effort, the National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance® released the latest edition of the nation’s consensus-based standard governing building information modeling (BIM). From planning and design through construction and operations, the National BIM Standard-United States® (NBIMS-US™) Version 3 (V3) covers the full life cycle of buildings.

“BIM is a powerful tool that can change the way our industry designs, constructs, operates and maintains facilities,” said the vice chair of the NBIMS-US™ V3 Project Committee, Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Assoc. AIA, IES. “The National BIM Standard-United States® Version 3 provides industry professionals with the necessary guidance to set that process in motion.”

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Dumb Point Clouds

AWB_5639-2-onlineHere’s the problem with laser scanners – they are dumb, or as they point out in this article from the UK, “Whilst the point cloud gives a dimensionally-accurate 3D representation, from a BIM perspective it is still very much dumb data with little embedded information.”

To support the use of BIM the point cloud and legacy data can be used as a base to create a Revit model which contains data-rich components with built-in parameters to enable additional asset data to be introduced. This embedded data can then provide a wealth of information for renovation, construction, facilities management and, indeed, the asset lifecycle of the station itself.

This project was undertaken by Bridgeway Consulting for the UK’s Network Rail. It was a large-scale project to create a 3D digital model of Liverpool Street Station in London. The model was to be based largely on 3D laser scan data collection in the field by surveying teams, which would then be supplemented and cross-checked against existing asset records.

The logistics of producing such a model relied heavily on integrating data with some 29,000 legacy drawings from the archive in York, some of which dated back to the original construction of the station in the late 1800s.

Relying on these drawings alone would import a large element of risk when producing a current as-built record so, to supplement the model, over 600 fully-coordinated 3D HDS laser scans were produced of the entire station.

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ASPRS IGTF 2016 Announced

The American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) will host their annual IGTF Conference April 11 – 15, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Please reserve the date.

All conference sessions and plenaries will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center, located in the downtown heart of Fort Worth. Only steps from the Fort Worth Convention Center, the Omni Fort Worth Hotel will serve as the headquarters hotel for conference attendees. The Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa has also been reserved for conference attendees to choose for accommodations during the conference week.

Stay tuned for more details.

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NASA RFI For Space Lidar

imagesNASA/ARC is interested in spaceflight-qualified LIDAR systems for planetary rover missions on the Moon. LIDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distance).

This RFI seeks information about LIDAR systems that may be delivered as soon as 2019 for lunar mission use. The LIDAR system must be small, lightweight, low-power, and able to acquire 3D measurements (i.e., not just linear or planar ranging) to support short-range surface navigation (hazard detection and localization).

The LIDAR system shall be capable of detecting natural terrain hazards, such as rocks, craters, and slopes. The LIDAR system shall also be capable of supporting relative localization, such as 3D feature detection and tracking.

There is a modification to the synopsis entitled PLANETARY ROVER NAVIGATION LIDAR – NNA15ZTI001L which was posted on June 19, 2015. The due date for responses is extended.

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Here Matters

hereIt looks like the big 3 German car companies are in the process of acquiring Nokia’s Here mapping service and as you can see in the adjacent photo that includes the use of lidar – derived imagery.

As reported in Popular Science, “A robust map data set is crucial to operating an autonomous car–if the car doesn’t know where to go, it can’t go anywhere. Nokia identified this early on, and has already used its LIDAR-equipped cars to create high-definition maps of certain roads and highways, accurate down to 20 centimeters, according to the company.”

Most people don’t realize that it takes this level of detail to support autonomous vehicles.

With this software and data, these automakers will be able to better compete in a market soon to be flooded with autonomous taxis by Uber and Google, and be able to offer comparable or premium autonomous driving products. Time will tell on that idea.

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