Technology – View Simulations

By Patrick R. Fuscoe, P.E., CEO Fuscoe Engineering, Inc.

In the last article, I told you about “optical capture” using a drone and the 3D point clouds that measure and map buildings, sites and surface features for use in planning or design. Now, I’d like to share how we are taking these millions of points and using them to create compelling, accurate view simulations. Imagine that you fly a drone over downtown San Diego for about 15 minutes. Now you have a 3D model of every building, street and site to play with! So next, you take the Revit files for new buildings and simply insert them into the model giving you the ability to look at it from anywhere or from it at anything – with precise accuracy.

(Continued from eWeekly) Continued from eWeekly pointer finger image

Almost every entitlement application for projects now involves creating view simulations for neighbors and officials, not to mention yourself (we had one client so appalled by his huge building he reversed course on it and redesigned it to fit in better!). These views can be static line-of-sight shots or moving videos (like the view from the I-5 or passing cars) of a downtown skyscraper.

The other use of these 3D models is to integrate them into Building Information Modelling (BIM). Every large or complex building project is going into BIM these days as it enables everyone to “share” a 3D design eliminating the old fashioned “back & forth” of redlines trying to get a consensus. In BIM, it’s fast and easy. We have developed software that not only enables our point cloud models to join into a BIM model, but we can also translate civil or landscape plans from AutoCAD into an architect’s Revit BIM model! This is equivalent to making a APP that works in Android or Apple IOS. Once everyone is into the BIM model, the real fun starts – dozens of conflicts are avoided and resolved, shortcuts are discovered and better designs are born from collaboration. (I had a landscape designer complain he had to add ugly handrails because he had three steps to our patio. I said wait, let me raise up that edge of the patio to eliminate a step and the handrails. I changed grades on the model and it instantly re-drew itself without the step and handrails.) Finally, construction RFI’s and delays are reduced. We’re even working on BIM models in the “cloud” in real time for speed and better communication across all team members whenever they are.

So it’s creating realistic simulated reality for proposed projects to be tested and reviewed plus developing robust BIM models to speed up and improve design. Next time I’ll tell you about Virtual Reality (VR) where we can take these 3D models or plans and actually put you inside of the plan and do a virtual tour of the whole place!