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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 »

Indoor Reality Captures and Processes Large Indoor Spaces

March 15th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Just when you think that the advancements in indoor mapping have come a long way, along comes another fascinating product.

Indoor Reality, a company created by founder and CEO Avideh Zakhor, University of California at Berkeley, provides those exceptional products. Recently Zakhor was awarded the El Scientist of the Year award for significant contributions to signal processing, including 3D image processing & computer vision; 3D reality capture systems; 3D modeling, mapping and positioning; and image and video compression and communication.

EI Symposium bestows awards to a member of the electronic imaging community who has demonstrated excellence and commanded the respect of his/her peers by making significant and substantial contributions to the field of electronic imaging via research, publications, or service.

Not surprisingly, the Iranian-born Zakhor is no stranger to the tech industry, in fact, she is behind the technology that gave us Google Earth and StreetView.

In 2018, Indoor Reality announced the latest update to its 3D mobile mapping solution – multi-acquisition mapping – which can be used to rapidly capture a large area by using multiple devices in parallel, or the same device multiple times. As Zakhor explains, “Reality capture of large areas has always been a challenge for indoor mapping systems. Now AEC professionals can use the Indoor Reality handheld mapping device IR-500 to capture and process arbitrarily large areas in chunks, by allowing Indoor Reality’s proprietary software to stitch the acquisitions together seamlessly. All the auto-generated data products such as interactive web visualization, point clouds, 3D mesh and floor plan, are generated as if there was one gigantic acquisition, rather than many smaller ones. Even the tagging and annotations made on smaller acquisitions will be seamlessly merged into the combined larger capture.”

What makes this particularly useful to BIM professionals is that the above capability coupled with Indoor Reality’s Revit Plug-in makes it possible to do rapid generation of BIM models for large areas at high speed.

AECCafe Voice asked Zakhor about Indoor Reality products and what makes them so successful.

How does Indoor Reality or the current application compare with other indoor mapping solutions?

There are two main differentiating factors for Indoor Reality products:

  1. Speed of capture

Existing indoor mapping solutions are either tripod based, or have wheels , e.g. a Cart. Tripod based schemes are painfully slow; Cart based system with wheels have trouble in areas with uneven surfaces, or staircases.

By contrast, the Indoor Reality solution is a mobile wearable backpack platform which allows one to map wherever humans can go. Also, since it is not tripod based, the capture rate is very fast.

  1. Rapid conversion to BIM models.

The automated processing pipeline of Indoor Reality creates data products that can be converted to 3D CAD models such as Revit very efficiently. In particular the Indoor Reality Revit Plug in takes in the auto generated floor plan, and the imagery captured during acquisition as input, and can be used to rapidly generate Revit models on the fly. This eliminates the tedious, painful process of having to trace point cloud.

In a nutshell, this combination of rapid capture and rapid conversion to CAD models is what sets apart Indoor Reality solution from the existing products in the market.

Tell me about the software platform for the hardware solutions.

Captured data in an acquisition is uploaded to the cloud and is auto processed to create a variety of data products including point cloud, mesh, floor plans, summary report of area, volume, etc. The processing pipeline is shared between different hardware devices by Indoor Reality. So, all the data products area available for all hardware devices.

How would one use the scanner?

The IR-500 is a handheld solution that one waves at the walls as one moves along. The IR-1000 is a backpack that one wears while walking around buildings.

How easy is it to process scanned data?

The data is uploaded to the cloud and is auto processed. So the user does not have to worry about stitching scans or doing any processing.

How can the data be used to make a Revit model?

The auto generated floor plan and panoramic pictures is input into Indoor Reality Revit Plug-in IR-RVP. After some human intervention, a detailed Revit model is generated. Our test pilots have shown that this process is 3x to 5x faster than traditional ways of creating Revit models, i.e. tracing point clouds.

What do people need to get started with the solution?

Contact to order a unit. and they are good to go!

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, apps, architecture, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, collaboration, construction, engineering, field, field solutions, file sharing, infrastructure, lidar, mobile, plant design, point clouds, reality capture, site planning, virtual reality, visualization, wearable devices

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