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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

3D Reality Mesh Models Become Smarter with Bentley’s New Reality Modeling Technology

 
April 20th, 2017 by Susan Smith

Recent advancements in reality modeling have made the technology, which was once limited to highly skilled, well-trained individuals and costly equipment, now accessible to everyone. Faraz Ravi, a Bentley fellow and project manager for reality modeling spoke with AECCafe Voice about Bentley’s new innovations in reality modeling technology which greatly simplify the process of capturing, processing, and using data to create engineering-ready 3D models.

A 3D engineering-ready reality mesh created in ContextCapture comparing (left to right) photogrammetry, LiDAR, and a hybrid input. (Image courtesy of Bentley Systems and City of Strasbourg)

For infrastructure project delivery, reality modeling captures the actual context of infrastructure projects through photos and/or scans, delivering reality meshes, for design modeling, analytical modeling, and construction modeling. As-built reality meshes can immersively geo-coordinate the alignment of digital engineering models for asset management performance, with right-time inputs from connected Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Ravi notes that Bentley’s ContextCapture software turns digital photographs into 3D reality meshes to provide a comprehensive digital contextual frame of reference, aligning all data with real-world conditions.

An image in ContextCapture photo planning that shows operation (gray), target (yellow), and forbidden (red) zones.

“Specific components of the reality mesh can be linked to relevant documents and schematics, historical performance data, and real-time asset monitoring dashboards to make the 3D mesh model ‘smarter’ and increase the value of legacy geospatial data,” Ravi states.

ContextCapture capabilities now include photo planning, a mobile appand cloud processing services for Bentley’s applications. ContextShare extends Bentley’s ProjectWise connected data environment to securely manage, share, and stream reality meshes and their input sources, across project teams and applications. Navigator Web is a new web application that delivers high-performance streaming of very large reality meshes through the browser to desktop or mobile devices.

The new photo planning application allows engineers and surveyors to easily plan the image capture process for optimal camera positions and flight paths for UAVs in order to achieve the desired levels of accuracy.

Bentley is working with UAV manufacturers to offer cloud services for constructioneering (a process of bringing engineering data directly to the field to determine construction workflows) designed to increase efficiency and productivity. In addition, a mobile application will soon be released that will bring reality capture to every member of a project delivery team allowing the capture of smaller scenes and assets.

Bentley technician capturing a reality mesh using the ContextCapture mobile application.

With hybrid processing, ContextCapture enables users to incorporate high-resolution photography and laser scanning to produce accurate 3D engineering-ready reality meshes.

According to Ravi, Bentley is introducing new cloud services for ContextCapture that will allow users to produce 3D engineering-ready reality meshes without high-end hardware requirements or IT constraints and ProjectWise ContextShare that enables users to quickly and securely manage, search, download, and stream extremely large quantities of reality modeling data.

“In design, we want to understand existing conditions in more detail and manage risk of constructability issues. In construction, we may want to manage change detection and document construction of a site,” says Ravi. “In operations, ContextCapture helps to provide compelling visuals of assets you’re operating for training, simulation of asset performance, or safety. We may also want to create 3D models to conduct virtual inspections of our assets.”

Virtual inspections using UAVs and reality meshes can reduce potential safety risks to inspectors and speed up the inspection process through highly-detailed 3D models of assets, repeatable documentation of inspections, and safe, remote access to difficult to reach locations.

Richard Bath, graduate surveyor for Costain, notes, “ContextCapture is providing Bentley users like Costain a software environment that is progressing the use of reality 3D capture on a construction site. With just a smartphone, the entire workforce has the potential to document visually rich 3D construction progress with a minimal amount of training,” Bath says. “ContextCapture is changing data capture onsite.”

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Categories: 2D, 3D, 3D printing, AEC, AECCafe, apps, architecture, Bentley Systems, BIM, building information modeling, Civil 3D, civil information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, construction, engineering, field, field solutions, geospatial, GIS, IES, IFC, infrastructure, IoT, lidar, mobile, plant design, point clouds, project management, reality capture, rendering, simulation, site planning, sustainable design, virtual reality, visualization, wearable devices

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