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Bentley Systems acquires Acute3D for reality modeling

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Bentley Systems announced that it has acquired the French company Acute3D, provider of Smart3DCapture software for reality modeling.

Acute3D Smart3DCapture has five different editions, two of which are what the company refers to as “prosumer” editions; consumer customers and professionals working on small non-georeferenced projects can use these two editions to simply generate 3D models from photos.

Acute3D

Through reality modeling, photos from a variety of sources, including those from smartphones as well as high-resolution aerial imaging, can capture existing conditions that are then identified, processed and assigned points and texturized automatically into accurate representations of reality. The resulting high resolution, 3D mesh can be exported into GIS or CAD software. This is a standalone application for the desktop.

Bentley’s broad view of products dedicated to infrastructure is a good fit for Acute3D and helps both organizations extend their reach, as they are focused on the infrastructure lifecycle, from design through construction and into operations.

Acute3D is designing reality capture software for UAV operators who consume photos from various sources. “UAVs are capturing data with cameras for specific purposes,” said Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons of Acute3D. “They are used largely for land surveying for volume calculations features and reporting changes to the owners. The rest of the technology is the same whether you’re using it for UAVs or for mobile mapping.”

Acute3D already has amassed a number of customers and UAV manufacturers who are using their reality modeling Smart3DCapture.

Other areas in which Acute3D products are being used are on the site-to-city scale, for transportation, roads, mining, oil and gas. The beauty of the Smart3DCapture is that, with very little effort, customers can automatically generate from photos a 3D ‘reality mesh’ that is very accurate and detailed. These 3D ‘reality meshes’ can be exported into different software and can be used in the final data representations for contextual alignment for design modelingand construction modeling environments.

By beginning with existing conditions garnered from photos of the site, data capture can be achieved more simply and more affordably than from laser scanning.

Acute3D was co-founded in 2011 by researchers Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons and Dr. Renaud Keriven, who have led an accomplished team of researchers and developers, headquartered in Sophia Antipolis. In the beginning, Acute3D worked with an OEM in a cloud-based capacity that acquired over 6 million users of this solution; they focused on geospatial and became more involved in mobile mapping.

They decided to develop their own desktop application rather than remain with OEMs, because they wanted contact with the end users and wanted to be ready to react to the market. Smart3DCapture is the result of that decision.

Since the company was founded, Acute3D has attracted an impressive, expanding user base that includes Nokia, PASCO, and Saint-Gobain, and OEM licensees like Autodesk. Large-scale 3D city modeling is an area being explored by Acute3D with Internet giant Tencent where they are teaming up to design and build several mega-cities in China, from both aerial and street view photography. Acute3D applications also extend to gathering existing conditions capture for construction sites, manufacturing facilities, mining operations, pipelines, and oil and gas exploration.

Bentley Systems Founder and CTO Keith Bentley said, “The world-class Acute3D developers have already achieved two breakthroughs, which remove the barriers to the adoption of reality modeling. First, Acute3D has made it possible for anyone to sufficiently capture existing conditions with just a camera. Of equal importance is the value of the Acute3D result. Rather than a voluminous cloud of discrete points, Acute3D produces a 3D ‘reality mesh’ – intrinsically in the same geometric idiom as engineering models, readily aligning the real-world context.

“Just as Acute3D’s innovations have now brought reality modeling within reach of every infrastructure professional, we and our new colleagues are excited to be working together to incorporate Acute3D functionality throughout our platform and application portfolio, enhancing information mobility throughout infrastructure asset lifecycles.”

Acute3D Dr. Jean-Philippe Pons said, “When Renaud and I founded Acute3D, our vision was to make widely available, at industrial precision, what we now describe as reality modeling. With our team, we are very pleased to be joining Bentley to complete our reach. Together, we have already shared and embarked upon many new initiatives to incorporate reality modeling within design and construction modeling. Voila!

Special Coverage: Envisioning 3D Cities of the Future

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

First published in GISCafe Voice:

Cities worldwide are charged with the same challenge: that of creating or retrofitting sustainable, intelligent infrastructure. Cities need the best in design, geospatial, visualization and analytical tools to realize a viable and intelligent city design. 3D City design is architectural design times thousands, plus it must have the ability to be interwoven with other surrounding infrastructure and foster an urban conversation.

CyberCity 3D

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Latest PDF3D version is standalone for 3D PDF conversion

Monday, September 8th, 2014

PDF3D 3D PDF conversion and publishing software has released their latest version update with more features of their advanced PRC technology for CAD users. The development timeframe has been speeded up to bring this technology to market early.

PDF3D_Unolinea_House_DWG_screenshot (more…)

Peter Hansford keynotes at GEO Business 2014 in London

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

I heard Peter Hansford, the Chief Construction Advisor to HM Government, UK speak about the Crossrail project at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure conference in London, 2013. While I’m not in attendance at the inaugural GEO Business 2014 event, Hansford is presenting a keynote at that conference.

With a career that has spanned positions at Amey, Maunsell, the Strategic Rail Authority and Gardiner and Theobald, Hansford has spent the majority of his career on highways and railways with project management largely being his focus. Peter is also an ardent advocate and supporter of the BIM initiative.

 

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HP DL380z Virtual Workstation announced

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Jeff Groudan, worldwide director, Thin Client and Virtual Workstation Product Management and Jim Christensen, product manager at HP, talked about the announcement this week of the HP DL380z Virtual Workstation solution –  a slick combination of HP’s server hardware technology and the integration of it into the true workstation ecosystem, delivered out of the Workstation Business unit.

DL380pG8_8SFF_left (more…)

AutodeskSubscription offers more flexibility with 2015 product release

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

AutodeskSubscription offers a modern way for customers to purchase and access the software and services that they need to grow their business, and new purchasing options allow customers to choose the plan that best fits their current project needs and budget. The flexibility offered in this way of purchasing and accessing software allows for greater flexibility for a broader spectrum of customers.

“We like the subscription program with Autodesk because it provides predictability and stability; it simplifies our licensing, and it gives us a lot of flexibility,” said Gene Evans, Autodesk subscription administrator for Woolpert, a US-based design, geospatial and infrastructure management firm. “In addition, upgrades on subscription are pretty much a no-brainer. We budget a static sum every year, and it’s been easy to predict our costs, we can upgrade at any time, whenever it works for us. Subscription also allows us to explore cloud services and evaluate where they will benefit us as a company and make better informed decisions. Subscription is the only way to go for us.” (more…)

Top AEC Predictions for 2014 – AECCafe Voice

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Last year’s predictions for the year, Top AEC Predictions for 2013 – AECCafe Voice, were somewhat different from this year’s. Although those predictions are still useful to note this year, I am focusing on some product directions and initiatives since there is a continuing, pressing need to address critical infrastructure, fueled largely by climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and failing infrastructure and economy. Products developed and industries becoming more collaborative all shape the predictions of the year 2014.

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Spike from IkeGPS laser based device features measurement capabilities with photos

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Spike (Smart Phone ike!) from IkeGPS is a laser based device that attaches to your phone to ensure that you can rapidly & accurately measure & model an object up to 200 yards (600 feet) away just by taking a snapshot of it.  For ten years, Ike has been designing measurement and modeling systems for industrial customers.Using the IkeGPS technology, Spike makes use of the smartphone’s technology and adds its own features. It incorporates a digital camera, 3D compass, a laser range finder and GPS that snaps onto the back of your phone and fits into your pocket.

Spike integrates your smartphone’s current technology with some specialized features of its own. It amalgamates a digital camera, a 3d compass, a laser range finder and GPS. It fits neatly into your pocket yet is robust enough to use every day.

According to Darrell Etherington of Techcrunch, “The benefits of the Spike and its powers are evident…telecom and utility companies, architects, city planners, builders and more would be better served with a simple portable accessory and the phone they already have in their pocket than by specialized equipment that’s heavy, bulky, requires instruction on proper use and lacks any kind of easy instant data portability like you’ll get from a smartphone app’s “Share” functions.”

“The short version of IkeGPS was developed in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a number of years ago,” said Leon Toorenburg. “It was a handheld GPS device with a laser rangefinder and a camera, and you can locate the target and take a photo of it at the same time. It is used to geotag measurements of buildings, and you don’t have to worry about where you took the photos because it’s attached to the GPS. We took it a stage further with the electrical ultility industry, they have no idea of what’s on their power poles, and with one photo they can take a measure of everything on the pole. They don’t have to spend hours at each pole with a measuring tape.”

Insurance adjusters can also use it to take a photo of a wall that may be falling down, for example, and get the size of it.

Laser range finders typically cost $1500 or so. This app that runs with the smartphone allows you to make measurements just from your smartphone, with height, width, distances without having to connect the rangefinder app to the smartphone at all.  “We’re also going to publish an API that allows people to take the functionality inside their custom workflows. Say you have an app on the iPhone, an insurance app and you want to measurement-enable that app, you can use our API and incorporate this into the insurance app,” said Toorenburg.

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Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro debuts

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Paul McRoberts, vice president of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business, talked this week about the company’s announcement today of Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro, that offers the latest 3D modeling, visualization and cloud-based collaboration technologies to address the estimated $30 trillion gap worldwide between desperately needed infrastructure and the funding required to deliver it.

To expand access to the critical BIM solutions that design professionals need to address this challenge, the new solution is available via a quarterly plan, making it ideal for firms to test-drive Autodesk 360 Pro, or use it for short-term project needs.

Those users who have been aware of the Autodesk InfraWorks environment will note that the product goes to the next level with cloud capability and the ability to integrate lots of disparate Big Data. “We are still struggling with how to manage this Big Data world,” said Paul McRoberts. “Things have been focused around the single user, GIS analyst, GIS technician, drafter, a very expert oriented environment. As were building out the InfraWorks 360 environment, we ask how does that environment get us to change?”

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