Automation found in newer generations of survey tools does more than make life easier; it also opens new opportunities. One of these opportunities is working with other professionals who have dedicated their lives to creating and manipulating 3D data for the purpose of entertainment.

Recently the LITE center in Lafayette, La., held a game developers conference, called iFEST, for both independent studios and big-name companies. During the event, both of these groups had a chance to learn about the FARO Focus3D laser scanner with SCENE software from GeoShack’s David Smith. Although Smith didn’t bring a scanner, he talked at length with attendees about scanning and how it works. The audience was enthusiastic about the capabilities. A near-unanimous response was how great it would be to capture an environment or character in the real world that can be easily recreated and brought into a digital world where it could be manipulated. Most independent game studios can’t afford their own hardware and have trouble working with the point clouds but would consider buying models for their games from a database held, say, inside a survey firm.

Is this something that sounds worthwhile? Would the potential profits make it worth retooling contracts to allow a survey firm to sell data from their work to third parties like game studios? What are the biggest challenges to this scenario?

Watch my video interview above with GeoShack’s David Smith to find out why he decided to attend iFEST, then share your comments below.