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SPAR 2010 Laser Scanning Conference Summary

Due to inclement weather in Washington D.C., I was not able to make it back to The Woodlands in time for the first day of SPAR 2010, but I sure do have a lot to share with you after day 2. Below are some highlights from the well-attended event:

Zebra Imaging – if you did not have a chance to see them in person, be sure to check out their website because they have developed a truly remarkable product. Zebra Imaging makes digitally-mastered, actively-animated, true-color, full-parallax holographic images. These holographic images are available in full color, or in monochrome (green). Zebra’s holographic images can be scaled to any size, large or small. By tiling together multiple tiles, it is possible to create large city maps, full sized cars, humans, and machinery. Check out a sample video of their technology here. Look for a full post about this technology after the conference.

Trimble Indoor Mobile Mapping Solution (TIMMS) – Simply put, this technology is full-dome mobile scanning for interior applications. The technology uses the same IMU-type technology as aerial LiDAR and mobile mapping, but without the GPS. You simply push a cart around a facility to capture detailed, accurate point cloud data without the hassles of registration. Monthly rentals are available or you can purchase the technology.

Z+F Camera Attachment for the Imager 5006iZ+F showed off a new digital camera attachment for the Imager 5006i/Leica HDS-6100. The camera mounts on top of the unit and integrates with the point cloud data through the use of their proprietary software. There are batch capabilities that allow application of the RGB values to be applied to multiple scans at once. These values are appended to the ZFS files without affecting the intensity values. It works flawlessly with the HDS6100, however, a hardware upgrade is needed in order to work with the HDS6000. The cameras can be purchased or leased from Z+F directly.

Velodyne Lidar Inc. showed off their real-time 360-degree LiDAR sensor. Velodyne’s sensor was used on the Radiohead House of Cards music video directed by James Frost and Zoo Film Productions for which I recently had the privilege of working with on a new project. More on that once the project has been released… it is big, real big! In the meantime, check out the results from the Radiohead project. It is guaranteed to amaze you!

Deke Smith gave a great presentation on the buildingSMART alliance and the National BIM Standard. Join at http://www.buildingsmartalliance.org. Download the Whole Building Design Guide at http://www.wbdg.org.

I regret that I was not able to attend the first day, but it has been great to see colleagues I have not seen in a while and catch up on some new technology. Look for more info to be posted tomorrow. Follow us on Twitter for real-time updates from the conference.

Diversified Business Communications Acquires Spar Point Research

Spar Point Research LLC has been acquired by Diversified Business Communications, a U.S.-based trade show, publishing and eMedia company headquartered in Portland, Maine.
Tom Greaves, founder of Spar Point Research, will join the Diversified management team as managing director of the Spar Point Group. “We are excited about the future growth opportunities for Spar Point Group as part of Diversified,” Greaves said. “Diversified is a leading media and trade show organization with global reach and a proven record of strengthening the industries it serves. Diversified’s resources will allow our team to expand our geographic reach more quickly and better serve the needs of users and suppliers of 3D imaging technologies worldwide.“

“Diversified is actively looking for opportunities to partner and acquire emerging industry franchises,” said Nancy Hasselback, president and CEO of Diversified Communications. “We see a tremendous opportunity for growth in 3D imaging technology.”

“The Spar Point Group products are a great addition to our portfolio,” commented Mike Lodato, group vice president, who will be responsible for the corporate leadership of the Spar Point Group portfolio. “I look forward to working with Tom and the rest of the team to expand this franchise and leverage his expertise.”

Spar Point Research LLC, a Massachusetts-based company, has organized SPAR conferences in the United States and Japan since 2003. SPAR 2010 will be held Feb. 8-10, 2010 in Houston, Texas, USA. SPAR 2010J will be held April 15-16, 2010 in Kawasaki, Japan. The company also publishes SparView, an electronic newsletter serving more than 12,000 readers from engineering, construction, manufacturing, law enforcement and security planning organizations worldwide.

Diversified Business Communications provides information and market access through trade exhibitions, magazine publishing and eMedia products on four continents. Diversified serves a number of industries including seafood, food service, natural and organic products, commercial marine, integrative health care, oil and gas, and business management. Diversified operates divisions in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India and the UK. For more information, visit www.divbusiness.com.

Too-cool technologies: Game Engine-quality Point Clouds and Digital Holography

By Lieca N. Hohner, Chief Editor SparLLC

Our industry never comes short in the innovation department. HKS Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, proves this—it’s turned “regular” point clouds into game-engine quality. Here’s the story. And then read on for some amazing display solutions.
HKS, Inc.’s Pat Carmichael, manager of the Advanced Technology Group, began investigating point cloud scans as a way to achieve high-quality as-built information for the company’s architectural geometry applications used for schematic design (most often Revit). The team realized many benefits using laser scan data, including the ability to obtain data not manually possible, draw while acquiring field data, gain highly accurate data comparable to total station data, and to collect immense amounts of data in rapid time. Point clouds are the bread and butter of rapid model acquisition, Carmichael said in his presentation at SPAR 2009.
HKS scan data captured from subcontractors’ scanners are used in HKS’ home-grown product called BIMMIT, an evolving spin-off product from their real-time game-engine product ARCHengine that has been in development for more than 10 years and that which enhances Revit models. BIMMIT is usually coupled with HKS’ proprietary ARCHengine for real-time display of the resulting 3D BIMMIT/Revit models, which can be between 8 million to 30 million polygons depending on their use on a laptop or desktop.
To illustrate the awesomeness of this melding, consider the W hotel in Dallas. The final model of the pre-constructed hotel designed by HKS was used to show city officials how the hotel’s sight lines would affect the downtown skyline so valued by the city. It was also used to sell out the associated condos prior to construction, as developers could take prospective buyers virtually up to their windows to show the views from their units. This same concept was used for the Ritz-Carlton twin towers in downtown Dallas; the presentation helped to pre-sell approximately 85% of the Phase One units in about six months—even in this down market, Carmichael said.
HKS used aerial lidar from the city to set elevations, some of which are photographically textured. HKS also flies with a RED ONE digital camera, which shoots in 4K resolution, whereby they extract high-resolution textures rapidly for application with the aerial lidar geometry. Most of the building models come out of Revit.
With these incredible design tools, HKS also performed a design review on the seating in the new American Airlines sports arena. HKS showed staff, team owners and other investors how seats would articulate and rise for a hockey or basketball arena and specifically how they would affect viewlines. On the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, HKS took the collected field scan data, structural data and drawing data—and all site views from all 89,000 seats, scoreboards, etc., into ARCHengine. To check the models during construction, HKS used a total station to get information from point to point. In the desktop models of the ARCHengine tools, everything is georeferenced with lat/long/elev, which gives the team dimensional data.
“It’s a serious design tool,” Carmichael said. “It’s a serious communication tool to the clients/users/vendors, all the other suppliers, and a bunch of other people participating in the design process.”
Carmichael says the next version of ARCHengine version 3 will tie individual objects to a reporting structure, in line with 4D business strategies that tie in time, space calculations and scheduling. He said HKS Advanced Technology Group is also working with Intel on the high-end multi-processors to be able to react more quickly to a cluster of cores for simulations.
Those involved in sports stadium, government, military or GSA work will be interested in HKS’ Advanced Technology Group solutions.
To see an interactive map of the seats in the new Dallas Stadium with panoramic images generated from ARCHengine, click tohttp://www.dallascowboys.com/tickets/newstadiumInteractiveMaps.cfm

Digital Imaging, Holographic Style

Zebra Imaging, Inc., provider of holographic display technologies, has taken visualization of LiDAR and laser scan data sets to a new level. Users in the geospatial, AEC, automotive, medical, oil & gas, military and other arenas can view a topographical data set in full parallax, full color and without any glasses or goggles. “Seeing LiDAR and laser scanned data volumetrically expands its utility and value,” said Michael Klug, Zebra’s CTO, at this year’s SPAR 2009. Government and commercial uses seem endless.
Zebra’s solution graduates a physical display to digital holography by reconstructing a 3D image in space using film-based displays and illumination. The 12-year-old company founded by graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab has cut its teeth by aiding the military and law enforcement with displays that assist planning and after-action efforts, situational awareness and training.
It’s pretty cool stuff—a far, FAR cry from the hologram stickers I collected as a little girl. Klug describes the process as being more like burning data to a disc rather than a printing process. From a pair of GeoTiffs (one being a DEM, the other a geotextured map), Zebra’s proprietary Imager burns the pattern into photopolymer film with intersecting laser beams and produces an A1-size (594 × 841 mm) monochrome hologram that can be produced in CAD, GIS, medical imaging, oil & gas, etc., formats in 1-millimeter hogel size—about a pixel. Process time is about three hours. An average A1-size monochrome (green) hologram costs about $2,500. Full color and replication is available, and Klug says high-speed development will be available by Q4. Klug claims Zebra’s solution is similar or lower cost compared to other market alternatives today, and that it is more transportable and usable with full solid parallax 3D.
Zebra has produced more than 6,000 LiDAR-based holographic displays for military use in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006. The 2×2 ½-foot maps provide warfighters with a common communication tool to get a common operating picture of an area of interest without language or cultural obstacles. Klug said they’re easily transportable and durable and, later, shreddable.
Focus on AEC Market
In the last two years, the company has developed a new product line for the AEC realm. Attention focuses on geospatial context and all phases of design, BIM documentation, and communications and marketing.
Currently, Zebra is defining a styles guide and a CAD tool API plug-in-based interface available from a drop-down menu in Revit, 3DS Max and Google Sketchup (at first, then others). Klug says the creation of a wizard is a bit complicated for Zebra since they render with in-house tools to manage 64,000 to a quarter-million views of a scene within two hours. So, they’ve created a render-quality selection where the user can select a point cloud, a simple-shaded rendition of a data set, a textured data set or a photo-real selection (which customizes the job). Orders are returned in A-frame and horizontal format (each of which delivers different results) and include a lighting component.
The Creation of Dynamic Displays
In 2004, Zebra was sponsored by DARPA to create a program for dynamic 3D displays for interactive graphic-intensive applications.  The dynamic displays would be easy to view, have 360-degree visibility, be electronically updated in real-time, be modular and scalable to 6×6 feet, and offer horizontal, vertical and inclined orientations. To date, they’ve established a 1-meter diagonal prototype modular display of 8-inch square tiles with an image volume that occupies about 1 foot of space. It directly plugs into OpenGL-based applications and updates at 10 Hz. Pilot production and beta phase of this display is expected next year. Klug said any rendering feature a user can see on a 2D screen can be produced in the hologram, including translucency, transparency, reflection, etc.

Uses for these displays include, but don’t appear to be limited to, spatial, project and industrial process planning, land development, event security logistics, emergency management, heritage preservation, forensics presentation and construction progress monitoring.

Spar Point Research Announces Plans For SPAR 2010 (The Woodlands, TX)

Written by Vector1Media
Monday, 15 June 2009

Spar Point Research announced today preliminary plans for SPAR 2010, its seventh annual conference on advanced dimensional control work processes and 3D laser scanning technologies for design, construction and manufacturing.

SPAR 2010 will be held Feb. 8-10, 2010 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas. Further details will be announced soon.

The conference features presentations, workshops and technical seminars on the business and technology of capturing, managing and integrating 3D information. Spar presenters are some of the most experienced professionals from the world’s largest petroleum and petrochemical producers, manufacturing companies, civil and transportation infrastructure engineering firms, industrial metrologists, geotechnical and mining firms, land surveyors, and federal, state and local governments.
Spar Point welcomes presentation abstracts from process and power, civil infrastructure and transportation, and discrete manufacturing facility owners and contractors on their use of laser scanning and other dimensional control technologies to capture and document existing-conditions data for design, construction and operations. Presentations will ideally include metrics identifying the impact of 3D imaging technology on outcomes, such as maintaining or reducing critical path time, achieving cost savings, enabling safety and productivity gains, or other measures. Presentations that address the issues of best practices for contracting, professional development and liability management are also invited.

Proposals must be original and not previously presented at other conferences. Proposals can be forwarded toLinda.McLaughlin@sparllc.com. Questions should be directed to Spar Point’s CEO Tom Greaves atTom.Greaves@sparllc.com or 978-774-1102.