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Visualizing a Subdivision Using LiDAR Data

In a previous life I designed a lot of residential subdivisions. It would have been incredible to have the site covered with LiDAR and to be able to manipulate the DTM as shown in this video. It’s a bit long, but stick with it as some of the best information is near the end.

Now the value of some of the lots is another story.


  • Impressive. And great to see an entire suburb being scanned, especially one – from a real estate perspective – with extremely valuable view lots.

    But as a CAD + GIS play, I see far more potential for value to be created, the environmental impact to be minimized, and to engineer and optimize the digital and physical processes by which the land is built out, to be done using a GIS + FIM in a browser (html5/webgl).

    Further explanation.
    For years those of us on the CAD/BIM side of the equation of listened to the GIS folks show their data and invite us to donate/convert our data into a geo platform. The geo folks typically overlook the fact that most CAD data is still 2D or very poorly structured 3D. Why not push things to the extreme, skip CAD + GIS into closed geospatial platforms, jump over BIM + GIS into the geoweb, and go directly to FIM (fabrication information modeling – definition from Trimble Strucad here, you know Trimble, the company that is making all the acquisitions to enable exactly what I am proposing) + GIS in a browser (and not the closed geospatial platform. That’s right folks, the $4.8 Trillion dollar architecture, engineering and construction industry is not going to convert all of its very valuable data into a closed geospatial platform – even if much of that data is already trapped in ESRI applications, and even if ESRI does develop a web/cloud/network technologies that could support it. Nothing against ESRI, it’s just that we CAD/BIM – let’s call the industry AEC – are not going to trap our data behind any geospatial firewall. Not going to happen. Sorry guys.

    There are already hundreds of companies integrating geospatial data into large data sets with very valuable BIM/FIM data that can be used for many purposes in the development of land as an integrated digital/physical process. Most of the examples I see are happening in Germany and Switzerland. And in the browser? Yep. Already under development at a few hundred – soon to be tens of thousands – companies, many clustered in Silicon Valley – that have previously been focused on video game development and simulation – now integrating very diverse data sets and putting them in a browswer using popular plugins like the Unity game engine, but increasingly focusing on html5/webgl and other technologies that are cross platform, real-time, multi-user, and instantly available to anyone with a pc, tablet or smart phone. Now things are really getting exciting.

    As a builder and fabricator, I invite you to meet and work with us in the ideal platform – the web itself. Don’t delay, Trimble is investing billions in building out this vision – but they are still just a technology company – they have to and are working with the AEC industry physically realize this mother of all mashups. Watch it from the GIS sidelines or embrace AEC partners and get in the browser-based game.

  • And to follow up, I pitched this entire idea/package to the real estate developers of a new ski resort in British Columbia, Canada about 5 years ago.,_British_Columbia

    At the time they were just started billions of dollars of development and installing the first ski lift. They were intrigued but not tech-savvy. It would all have begun with LIDAR data of the entire mountain.

    Now the technologies to do this are so much improved that the efficiencies are even far greater. Its gonna happen. And an entire community as a demonstration project is going to entice many other real estate developers to use these technologies. And I think a geographically interesting development will prove far more interesting than a flat development like Masdar in Abu Dhabi – although there are a lot of incredible and integrated technologies being developed on that project.

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