We’ve often touted the use of our indoor reality capture technology as a means of bringing much needed digital innovation to the entire lifecycle of a building. Capturing 3D building data allows users to move beyond modeled building information to record the as built state, appraise existing conditions, monitor construction progress and even enhance asset management. Reality capture technology therefore significantly increases the uses for digital building models. And the more relevant information you have in your building model, the more useful it is.
The challenge, until recently, has been bringing datasets captured by different devices together in a way that makes it meaningful to stakeholders. Currently, viewing this data usually requires specialized desktop software. Point cloud data sets tend to be too large to send as an email attachment and can only be shared using file sharing platforms. Both of these factors limit point cloud data to only those with access and skills to use specialized point cloud editing and viewing software. These are the problems that the NavVis IndoorViewer has overcome. More specifically, our software only loads the part of the point cloud that is being viewed, which makes it possible to stream even large point clouds in a browser and share it by sending a link via email.
Merge indoor and outdoor point clouds
The NavVis IndoorViewer was originally developed to stream and display the building data captured by the NavVis M3 Indoor Mapping Trolley as interactive 3D panoramic images and point clouds. However, thanks to our point cloud importing feature, the sky is now the limit when it comes to seamlessly viewing both indoor and outdoor building data. With the point cloud importing feature, IndoorViewer users can now upload third party datasets in standard formats such as PTX, PLY, PTS, and XYZ. This means point clouds from different devices can be combined and accessed within a single platform.
Since we introduced this featured a few months ago, we have seen a growing number of IndoorViewer users access this feature to link indoor and outdoor point clouds. Doing so enriches building models even further by providing context from the surroundings of the building. And with the increasing ubiquity of new data capturing devices such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – more commonly referred to as drones – capturing the outside of a building has gotten much easier and cheaper.
Outdoor data provides context
One example of how drone scans complement indoor data is when documenting construction progress. The NavVis M3 Trolley is often used to capture the construction site of a building at major milestones. This lets stakeholders monitor and track progress using the NavVis IndoorViewer to remotely access the construction site. Scans can also be compared to detect deviations and keep the project on track.
Outdoor scans provide similar construction project documentation opportunities, just from a different perspective. Drones, for example, can also be used to capture the as built state at the start of construction project and then to see if any deviations from the blue prints have occurred.
You can see in the images below how merging point clouds provides a much more comprehensive overview of the building:
Interactive panorama of the TU Munich Audimax shown in the NavVis IndoorViewer.
External view of the coloured NavVis point cloud.
Transparent view of the NavVis point cloud.
Coloured view of NavVis point cloud together with the 3rd-party point cloud displayed in the IndoorViewer.
Example of a 3rd-party point cloud of the building surroundings (in yellow), created by a terrestrial laser scanner and imported to the NavVis IndoorViewer.