Reality Capture: Is It Worth It?

You may be used to grabbing the good ole tape measure and pad of paper when it comes to capturing existing field conditions. But you may also be finding that it’s always tedious and often inaccurate, leading to costly re-work.

The ways of the past are outdated and just plain slow! It is time you step into the 21st century of Reality Capture. In a day when most cell phones are more powerful than that $5,000 “super” computer that you bought 10 years ago, why still use a tape measure or simple Disto laser? Today you can get so much more with a terrestrial laser scanner or drone.

Look Familiar?

In computer graphics and digital photography, a raster graphic is a dot matrix data structure that represents a generally rectangular grid of pixels, viewable via a computer display, paper, or other display medium.

In the past, your process may have looked a little something like this:In the past, your process may have looked a little something like this:

  • Start with a raster graphic or image of an old blueprint. Trace it into a computer aided drafting format so that you can edit and use it.
  • Visit the site to verify the conditions and accuracy of the CAD file. Capture any changes or inconsistencies with that lovely tape measure or Disto laser that we spoke about above. This step is often repeated numerous times, costing you money that should be used elsewhere.
  • Brainstorming and trying to produce ways to capture complex and hard to measure objects that cannot be captured with simple manual measuring tools.

This is no longer the ideal way to do things. Elements on the jobsite are missed. Data is inaccurate and inconsistent. As I mentioned above, the multiple trips to the jobsite (just to measure the same things repeatedly to verify accuracy) add up.

Reality capture solutions visualize any environment as it is so you can model with accuracy and precision.

Time to turn over a new leaf!

A better way to capture existing conditions accurately and completely is to implement a reality capture process. What does that mean? With reality capture, a digital 3D model representation of an object, building, or site is created by scanning it in the real world using static, mobile, and aerial laser scanning and/or photogrammetry. It’s a process that minimizes labor, saves time, and reduces project risk.

The greatest benefit to using a reality capture workflow is that you will have a comprehensive scan of the entire site. This scan will help you detect issues earlier than traditional surveying methods. It is a picture in time that you can continuously go back to and reference against whatever it is that you are currently working on. Whether you need electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, framing, thickness of walls, or existing conditions before/after a demo, it’s all there. And not just as numerical data – as a picture and 3D point cloud that can be instantly measured with a click of a button!

Multiple people across your company (or design and engineering staff) can have this scan, and everyone will be working off the same model at the same time. Architects can gain a clear understanding of the site restrictions and challenges, engineers can be better prepared to handle problems at an earlier stage of the project, and finally, all stakeholders can use the data and model to make correct decisions the first time when it comes to the optimum layout based on topography.

3D point cloud of existing building in Autodesk Recap Pro

Sounds great! Where do I start?

Give us a call! At ATG, we have a complete Reality Capture team. We offer multiple solutions when it comes to getting accurate measurements and models to our customers, including coming out to do the work for you (with many options for deliverables), or bringing your own team up to speed with training and hardware.

With software and hardware solutions for the reality capture world , and trainings, scanning and drafting performed in house, ATG USA is a one stop shop for EVERYTHING reality capture!

Josh Hunter

Reality Capture Specialist

Licenses & Certifications

FAA Part 107 Commercial UAV Pilots License

About Josh

Josh has over 12 years of sales experience in the telecommunications field. He has a real passion for technology and how it can help better our lives. He came to ATG looking for a new adventure in the AEC world. Josh started in sales and then transitioned to the Reality Capture team where he quickly became a certified drone pilot and laser scanning technician. Josh uses his sales and technical expertise to help deliver new cutting-edge solutions to AEC professionals, helping increase productivity and win more jobs in the changing world of technology.

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