At Bentley Be Inspired last week, one of the most profound announcements was that of the company’s acquisition of Pointools Ltd. in order to integrate point cloud processing into its entire product portfolio. Bentley plans to merge their code streams with those of Pointools to create a new fundamental data type. Up until now, Bentley has embedded the Pointools Vortex engine into MicroStation, but now they plan to incorporate point cloud processing in their ProjectWise and AssetWise platforms.
This signals an acknowledgement of the importance of Lidar data for various applications, not only for retrofit projects but also for planning and presentation value. The technology has been circling around the AEC industry for awhile but has been hampered until recently by the inability to efficiently get the large amounts of 3D data processed accurately. With great advancements in point cloud processing, it is now being integrated into mainstream CAD products like Bentley’s.
At Be Inspired, many of the winners and finalists were using 3D laser scanning in innovative ways in their projects, for example in the areas of multimedia, water and wastewater, and process manufacturing.
The Pointools/Bentley relationship is not the only evidence of this trend – Autodesk also has announced rather quietly the acquisition of technology assets and and hiring of individuals associated with the Alice Labs technology, according to Michael Oldenburg, manager, Corporate Communications, Autodesk.
The announcement of what Autodesk plans to do with this new acquisition is most likely being saved for Autodesk University, to be held December 28 in Las Vegas.
Another company that has just acquired 3D laser point cloud software is AVEVA, with its recent acquisition of LFM Software. This addition to the AVEVA portfolio offers a comprehensive range of technologies exploiting the power of 3D laser surveying. This technology is said to allow users to import 3D data from various 3D laser scanning formats and export them to plant design systems.
On the path of point cloud processing is ClearEdge 3D, a company that has developed algorithms to identify and extract pipes, walls, structures and other complex building and plant features from point clouds. Their Automated Feature Extraction algorithms are designed to reduce modeling time and eliminate a lot of the manual production associated with 3D models.
This is a topic we will be hearing more about in the near future.