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More than 775 people from 32 countries registered to attend SPAR 2010 in Houston, February 8-10. Despite a historic Mid-Atlantic snowstorm that snarled travel along the East Coast, conference organizers reported that attendance was up more than 20 percent compared to the previous year.
Anticipating the positive attendance figures, equipment manufacturers and software developers were eager to tout their latest partnerships and product offerings. AVEVA and Z+F announced a stronger technical and commercial partnership focused on delivering new levels of integration and productivity between laser scanning, detailed design and asset management. The two companies are working together to transform the efficiency of producing intelligent 3D CAD models from laser data so that the time and cost of producing intelligent AVEVA PDMS 3D models can be drastically reduced. They also aim to allow high-definition, photo-realistic laser images to be quickly and easily hot-spotted, linked to other plant data and accessed over the web in AVEVA’s asset information management solution AVEVA NET. “’As-is’ 3D models are becoming a popular method [of managing assets]; however for many this is still not viable due to the time and costs involved creating ’as-is’ 3D models,” said Derek Middlemas, group operations director of AVEVA. “Working with Z+F, AVEVA will offer a solution which significantly reduces the time and cost of producing ’as-is’ 3D models, making 3D models accessible to all asset management programs."
Sonia Delgadillo, senior applications specialist at COADE, presented a technical seminar on how to easily build intelligent, specification-driven 3D plant models from laser scan data within the unified AutoCAD environment. The seminar addressed how the same 3D model can be used to automatically create deliverables such as fabrication isometrics, plans, sections, elevations and complete bills of material. Delgadillo also gave a a demonstration of the time-saving bidirectional link between CADWorx plant design and CAESAR II for pipe stress analysis along with CADWorx fieldpipe for Leica CloudWorx, which was developed for the back-office creation of accurate as-builts from point cloud data.
Leica Geosystems HDS and INOVx announced a partnership to jointly develop advanced software for converting laser scan data into intelligent plant models. Integrated products will be based on Leica Cyclone software and INOVx RealityLINx software. Availability of the first integrated products is planned for the second quarter of 2010.
3D Laser Mapping highlighted the portable version of its StreetMapper mobile mapping system, developed in conjunction with German guidance and navigation specialist IGI mbH and technology company Riegl, along with recent deliveries of the StreetMapper system in China and Lithuania. In China, the device has already been used for high precision mapping of the Peking University Campus, 3D modeling of road tunnels in Beijing and highway surveying for road construction and network planning. Operated by Tecdawn HT and its partner, Eastdawn IT, the StreetMapper system, was also used as part of a project to assess, analyze and manage public safety and security ahead of the 11th National Games of the Peoples Republic of China. In Lithuania, the State Enterprise Transport and Road Research Institute’s Road Survey Division is using the system to help evaluate the condition of the road network, plan road repair and reconstruction projects and provide additional information for economic justification of proposed works.
While the mobile mapping equipment was impressive, attendees noted that software development in general continues to lag. “It appears that the focus is primarily on modeling and surfacing instead of on analysis and processing, which is where development is needed,” said Clay Wygant of WHPacific, one of the early adopters of mobile mapping technology. “I know of some firms that are piecing together 11 or 12 different programs to produce their deliverables, but it really shouldn’t be that complicated. There are still a lot of opportunities for improvement.”
John Russo, AIA, president and CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Architectural Resource Consultants, said that he noticed a substantial amount of lingering skepticism about mobile scanning in general. However, both Wygant and Russo believe that additional success stories will help spur technology improvements and open new markets.
The Scan to BIM track with its focus on real applications was one of the most talked-about sessions of the conference. The GSA is driving many BIM laser scanning projects, but a number of architecture, engineering and design firms are also paving the way. Other areas of interest included scanning for transportation and infrastructure, historic preservation, and industrial applications.
"The technology is advancing so fast, yet it is never fast enough,” noted Russo. “The consensus seems to be that more needs to happen to automate the post processing of scan data.”
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