April 23, 2014

Head in the Point Clouds

Sam Pfeifle

Sam Pfeifle was Editor of SPAR Point Group from September 2010 - February 2013.

Ovi Maps - What to make of it?

The web is buzzing about Nokia's Ovi Maps - and rightly so. The new 3D interface they've debuted, allowing you to take amazing 3D fly throughs of some of the world's most beautiful cities, is a revelation. If you haven't played with it yet, do so now by clicking here and wasting a significant part of your day

I recommend starting with New York, as the skyscrapers best optimize the 3D effect. (You're going to need to download a little Ovi plug-in, but it only takes a couple of seconds. Just do it. Trust me. Also, make sure you notice the "Pick a City" button in the lower left hand corner. It's not immediately apparent.)

For those less adventurous of you, this is what you can see of New York:

 

It's much, much cooler when you can spin it around and dive into it and run into skyscrapers by mistake, believe me. There are currently 20 cities you can check out, which are obviously the ones where they've done the flyover and integrated the image information with the lidar data. 

Many of the write-ups you'll see of this - like this one from Fast Company, or this one from MIT's Technology Review - focus on the fact that c3Technologies supplies much of the back-end technology to make the interface happen, which must mean that they put out a better press release or something. Also, people seem to love the whole angle where c3 developed the technology for the aerospace industry and it was supposed to guide missiles, blah, blah. I think it's overstating things to go with the whole swords-to-plowshares meme here. If we started counting up how many consumer applications started out as military applications we'd have a pretty long list. 

The real question is how Nokia is actually going to make any money off this 3D interface. At the moment it's a shiny toy and a great time waster, but it's unclear where the revenue is going to come from. 

Here's Nokia's Michael Halbherr from Ovi Product Development talking about Ovi's direction right before his keynote at the Where 2.0 conference (which I'm really feeling like I should have been at):

Much of what he's talking about is the 2D - the rich mapping APIs they'll be offering, the routing stuff, the advanced search functions, etc. All of which basically follow the Google model. Are they really going to do it so much better that they'll be able to overcome Google's branding and interface with its ubiquitous search engine, etc.? Show me all the market studies you want, but I'll tell you right now that Bing brought exactly 1.2 percent of the search traffic last month to SPARpointGroup.com. Yahoo beat Bing handily. 

Also, note that Halbherr more than once refers to the 3D interface as "eye candy" and "really cool." I totally agree. But that's not exactly code for "huge revenue driver." 

Maybe the most interesting thing he says involves his reference to how Navteq's "industrial capture process" is being dove-tailed with user additions. How is that going to work? How do they mesh survey-grade laser scan data with the photos from my iPhone? It makes the head spin. 

But I do have to admit the interface is addictive. I can't stop showing it to people here in the office and I've been surfing the streets of New York City like Spiderman for the last half hour. Seems like there's a model here for advertising a la Hulu and other streaming video sites, where an add might occupy a corner of the screen for 30 seconds at a time. But there's so much competition for advertising dollars...

There's also the fact that as you get more specific in your detail you need to refresh the maps all that more often for the user experience to be genuine. Look at the billboards in New York's Times Square: How long will Mary Poppins be playing for? Dawn of the Dead 2? 

Although, I have to admit that one of the coolest things about the 3Dness of this is how the sun plays into the images. Check out the difference here between one side of Helsinki's Suomenlinna area

 

and the other.

 

It almost makes it feel live, and it definitely makes it feel like more than just a computer simulation. 

Back to potential applications, though. Since Halbherr is talking about full APIs for just about any platform, mobile or desktop, it would seem that you could back this interface into just about anything. 

Off the top of my head revenue-generating applications (with the assumption that maybe the top 500 cities will eventually be mapped), other than sell ads for people to see when wasting time:

• Sell it to the online travel sites so that when they show you a hotel they also can show you the walking route to the major tourist attractions. Sure, you can show me an overhead map, or the Google map where I have to click the little arrow, but this is way cooler and you could do pre-programmed animations where I don't actually have to do anything. Then the hotels pay to have this service linked to their hotel. You don't pay, you don't get the cool animation. Chance of that actually being sellable? 30 percent?

• Sell it to colleges and universities so they can set up virtual tours of their campus and the surrounding area to entice potential students. As in: "Click here to walk the campus." Could be either pre-programmed or just embedded and the kids fly through. Chance of that actually being sellable? 20 percent?

• An education app that can be downloaded to tablets to teach kids world geography? $4.99 a download? Chances of that actually being sellable? Well, some well-meaning parents would buy. 

Anyway, you get the idea. Wild, wild west kind of stuff here. Maybe most importantly, though, another application that gets the mainstream thinking in terms of real-world 3D data and application. That can only be good for those of you armed with data capture devices and a business plan.


Permanent link

Ovi Maps - What to make of it?

The web is buzzing about Nokia's Ovi Maps - and rightly so. The new 3D interface they've debuted, allowing you to take amazing 3D fly throughs of some of the world's most beautiful cities, is a revelation. If you haven't played with it yet, do so now by clicking here and wasting a significant part of your day

I recommend starting with New York, as the skyscrapers best optimize the 3D effect. (You're going to need to download a little Ovi plug-in, but it only takes a couple of seconds. Just do it. Trust me. Also, make sure you notice the "Pick a City" button in the lower left hand corner. It's not immediately apparent.)

For those less adventurous of you, this is what you can see of New York:

 

It's much, much cooler when you can spin it around and dive into it and run into skyscrapers by mistake, believe me. There are currently 20 cities you can check out, which are obviously the ones where they've done the flyover and integrated the image information with the lidar data. 

Many of the write-ups you'll see of this - like this one from Fast Company, or this one from MIT's Technology Review - focus on the fact that c3Technologies supplies much of the back-end technology to make the interface happen, which must mean that they put out a better press release or something. Also, people seem to love the whole angle where c3 developed the technology for the aerospace industry and it was supposed to guide missiles, blah, blah. I think it's overstating things to go with the whole swords-to-plowshares meme here. If we started counting up how many consumer applications started out as military applications we'd have a pretty long list. 

The real question is how Nokia is actually going to make any money off this 3D interface. At the moment it's a shiny toy and a great time waster, but it's unclear where the revenue is going to come from. 

Here's Nokia's Michael Halbherr from Ovi Product Development talking about Ovi's direction right before his keynote at the Where 2.0 conference (which I'm really feeling like I should have been at):

Much of what he's talking about is the 2D - the rich mapping APIs they'll be offering, the routing stuff, the advanced search functions, etc. All of which basically follow the Google model. Are they really going to do it so much better that they'll be able to overcome Google's branding and interface with its ubiquitous search engine, etc.? Show me all the market studies you want, but I'll tell you right now that Bing brought exactly 1.2 percent of the search traffic last month to SPARpointGroup.com. Yahoo beat Bing handily. 

Also, note that Halbherr more than once refers to the 3D interface as "eye candy" and "really cool." I totally agree. But that's not exactly code for "huge revenue driver." 

Maybe the most interesting thing he says involves his reference to how Navteq's "industrial capture process" is being dove-tailed with user additions. How is that going to work? How do they mesh survey-grade laser scan data with the photos from my iPhone? It makes the head spin. 

But I do have to admit the interface is addictive. I can't stop showing it to people here in the office and I've been surfing the streets of New York City like Spiderman for the last half hour. Seems like there's a model here for advertising a la Hulu and other streaming video sites, where an add might occupy a corner of the screen for 30 seconds at a time. But there's so much competition for advertising dollars...

There's also the fact that as you get more specific in your detail you need to refresh the maps all that more often for the user experience to be genuine. Look at the billboards in New York's Times Square: How long will Mary Poppins be playing for? Dawn of the Dead 2? 

Although, I have to admit that one of the coolest things about the 3Dness of this is how the sun plays into the images. Check out the difference here between one side of Helsinki's Suomenlinna area

 

and the other.

 

It almost makes it feel live, and it definitely makes it feel like more than just a computer simulation. 

Back to potential applications, though. Since Halbherr is talking about full APIs for just about any platform, mobile or desktop, it would seem that you could back this interface into just about anything. 

Off the top of my head revenue-generating applications (with the assumption that maybe the top 500 cities will eventually be mapped), other than sell ads for people to see when wasting time:

• Sell it to the online travel sites so that when they show you a hotel they also can show you the walking route to the major tourist attractions. Sure, you can show me an overhead map, or the Google map where I have to click the little arrow, but this is way cooler and you could do pre-programmed animations where I don't actually have to do anything. Then the hotels pay to have this service linked to their hotel. You don't pay, you don't get the cool animation. Chance of that actually being sellable? 30 percent?

• Sell it to colleges and universities so they can set up virtual tours of their campus and the surrounding area to entice potential students. As in: "Click here to walk the campus." Could be either pre-programmed or just embedded and the kids fly through. Chance of that actually being sellable? 20 percent?

• An education app that can be downloaded to tablets to teach kids world geography? $4.99 a download? Chances of that actually being sellable? Well, some well-meaning parents would buy. 

Anyway, you get the idea. Wild, wild west kind of stuff here. Maybe most importantly, though, another application that gets the mainstream thinking in terms of real-world 3D data and application. That can only be good for those of you armed with data capture devices and a business plan.


Permanent link

Ovi Maps - What to make of it?

The web is buzzing about Nokia's Ovi Maps - and rightly so. The new 3D interface they've debuted, allowing you to take amazing 3D fly throughs of some of the world's most beautiful cities, is a revelation. If you haven't played with it yet, do so now by clicking here and wasting a significant part of your day

I recommend starting with New York, as the skyscrapers best optimize the 3D effect. (You're going to need to download a little Ovi plug-in, but it only takes a couple of seconds. Just do it. Trust me. Also, make sure you notice the "Pick a City" button in the lower left hand corner. It's not immediately apparent.)

For those less adventurous of you, this is what you can see of New York:

 

It's much, much cooler when you can spin it around and dive into it and run into skyscrapers by mistake, believe me. There are currently 20 cities you can check out, which are obviously the ones where they've done the flyover and integrated the image information with the lidar data. 

Many of the write-ups you'll see of this - like this one from Fast Company, or this one from MIT's Technology Review - focus on the fact that c3Technologies supplies much of the back-end technology to make the interface happen, which must mean that they put out a better press release or something. Also, people seem to love the whole angle where c3 developed the technology for the aerospace industry and it was supposed to guide missiles, blah, blah. I think it's overstating things to go with the whole swords-to-plowshares meme here. If we started counting up how many consumer applications started out as military applications we'd have a pretty long list. 

The real question is how Nokia is actually going to make any money off this 3D interface. At the moment it's a shiny toy and a great time waster, but it's unclear where the revenue is going to come from. 

Here's Nokia's Michael Halbherr from Ovi Product Development talking about Ovi's direction right before his keynote at the Where 2.0 conference (which I'm really feeling like I should have been at):

Much of what he's talking about is the 2D - the rich mapping APIs they'll be offering, the routing stuff, the advanced search functions, etc. All of which basically follow the Google model. Are they really going to do it so much better that they'll be able to overcome Google's branding and interface with its ubiquitous search engine, etc.? Show me all the market studies you want, but I'll tell you right now that Bing brought exactly 1.2 percent of the search traffic last month to SPARpointGroup.com. Yahoo beat Bing handily. 

Also, note that Halbherr more than once refers to the 3D interface as "eye candy" and "really cool." I totally agree. But that's not exactly code for "huge revenue driver." 

Maybe the most interesting thing he says involves his reference to how Navteq's "industrial capture process" is being dove-tailed with user additions. How is that going to work? How do they mesh survey-grade laser scan data with the photos from my iPhone? It makes the head spin. 

But I do have to admit the interface is addictive. I can't stop showing it to people here in the office and I've been surfing the streets of New York City like Spiderman for the last half hour. Seems like there's a model here for advertising a la Hulu and other streaming video sites, where an add might occupy a corner of the screen for 30 seconds at a time. But there's so much competition for advertising dollars...

There's also the fact that as you get more specific in your detail you need to refresh the maps all that more often for the user experience to be genuine. Look at the billboards in New York's Times Square: How long will Mary Poppins be playing for? Dawn of the Dead 2? 

Although, I have to admit that one of the coolest things about the 3Dness of this is how the sun plays into the images. Check out the difference here between one side of Helsinki's Suomenlinna area

 

and the other.

 

It almost makes it feel live, and it definitely makes it feel like more than just a computer simulation. 

Back to potential applications, though. Since Halbherr is talking about full APIs for just about any platform, mobile or desktop, it would seem that you could back this interface into just about anything. 

Off the top of my head revenue-generating applications (with the assumption that maybe the top 500 cities will eventually be mapped), other than sell ads for people to see when wasting time:

• Sell it to the online travel sites so that when they show you a hotel they also can show you the walking route to the major tourist attractions. Sure, you can show me an overhead map, or the Google map where I have to click the little arrow, but this is way cooler and you could do pre-programmed animations where I don't actually have to do anything. Then the hotels pay to have this service linked to their hotel. You don't pay, you don't get the cool animation. Chance of that actually being sellable? 30 percent?

• Sell it to colleges and universities so they can set up virtual tours of their campus and the surrounding area to entice potential students. As in: "Click here to walk the campus." Could be either pre-programmed or just embedded and the kids fly through. Chance of that actually being sellable? 20 percent?

• An education app that can be downloaded to tablets to teach kids world geography? $4.99 a download? Chances of that actually being sellable? Well, some well-meaning parents would buy. 

Anyway, you get the idea. Wild, wild west kind of stuff here. Maybe most importantly, though, another application that gets the mainstream thinking in terms of real-world 3D data and application. That can only be good for those of you armed with data capture devices and a business plan.


Permanent link

Ovi Maps - What to make of it?

The web is buzzing about Nokia's Ovi Maps - and rightly so. The new 3D interface they've debuted, allowing you to take amazing 3D fly throughs of some of the world's most beautiful cities, is a revelation. If you haven't played with it yet, do so now by clicking here and wasting a significant part of your day

I recommend starting with New York, as the skyscrapers best optimize the 3D effect. (You're going to need to download a little Ovi plug-in, but it only takes a couple of seconds. Just do it. Trust me. Also, make sure you notice the "Pick a City" button in the lower left hand corner. It's not immediately apparent.)

For those less adventurous of you, this is what you can see of New York:

 

It's much, much cooler when you can spin it around and dive into it and run into skyscrapers by mistake, believe me. There are currently 20 cities you can check out, which are obviously the ones where they've done the flyover and integrated the image information with the lidar data. 

Many of the write-ups you'll see of this - like this one from Fast Company, or this one from MIT's Technology Review - focus on the fact that c3Technologies supplies much of the back-end technology to make the interface happen, which must mean that they put out a better press release or something. Also, people seem to love the whole angle where c3 developed the technology for the aerospace industry and it was supposed to guide missiles, blah, blah. I think it's overstating things to go with the whole swords-to-plowshares meme here. If we started counting up how many consumer applications started out as military applications we'd have a pretty long list. 

The real question is how Nokia is actually going to make any money off this 3D interface. At the moment it's a shiny toy and a great time waster, but it's unclear where the revenue is going to come from. 

Here's Nokia's Michael Halbherr from Ovi Product Development talking about Ovi's direction right before his keynote at the Where 2.0 conference (which I'm really feeling like I should have been at):

Much of what he's talking about is the 2D - the rich mapping APIs they'll be offering, the routing stuff, the advanced search functions, etc. All of which basically follow the Google model. Are they really going to do it so much better that they'll be able to overcome Google's branding and interface with its ubiquitous search engine, etc.? Show me all the market studies you want, but I'll tell you right now that Bing brought exactly 1.2 percent of the search traffic last month to SPARpointGroup.com. Yahoo beat Bing handily. 

Also, note that Halbherr more than once refers to the 3D interface as "eye candy" and "really cool." I totally agree. But that's not exactly code for "huge revenue driver." 

Maybe the most interesting thing he says involves his reference to how Navteq's "industrial capture process" is being dove-tailed with user additions. How is that going to work? How do they mesh survey-grade laser scan data with the photos from my iPhone? It makes the head spin. 

But I do have to admit the interface is addictive. I can't stop showing it to people here in the office and I've been surfing the streets of New York City like Spiderman for the last half hour. Seems like there's a model here for advertising a la Hulu and other streaming video sites, where an add might occupy a corner of the screen for 30 seconds at a time. But there's so much competition for advertising dollars...

There's also the fact that as you get more specific in your detail you need to refresh the maps all that more often for the user experience to be genuine. Look at the billboards in New York's Times Square: How long will Mary Poppins be playing for? Dawn of the Dead 2? 

Although, I have to admit that one of the coolest things about the 3Dness of this is how the sun plays into the images. Check out the difference here between one side of Helsinki's Suomenlinna area

 

and the other.

 

It almost makes it feel live, and it definitely makes it feel like more than just a computer simulation. 

Back to potential applications, though. Since Halbherr is talking about full APIs for just about any platform, mobile or desktop, it would seem that you could back this interface into just about anything. 

Off the top of my head revenue-generating applications (with the assumption that maybe the top 500 cities will eventually be mapped), other than sell ads for people to see when wasting time:

• Sell it to the online travel sites so that when they show you a hotel they also can show you the walking route to the major tourist attractions. Sure, you can show me an overhead map, or the Google map where I have to click the little arrow, but this is way cooler and you could do pre-programmed animations where I don't actually have to do anything. Then the hotels pay to have this service linked to their hotel. You don't pay, you don't get the cool animation. Chance of that actually being sellable? 30 percent?

• Sell it to colleges and universities so they can set up virtual tours of their campus and the surrounding area to entice potential students. As in: "Click here to walk the campus." Could be either pre-programmed or just embedded and the kids fly through. Chance of that actually being sellable? 20 percent?

• An education app that can be downloaded to tablets to teach kids world geography? $4.99 a download? Chances of that actually being sellable? Well, some well-meaning parents would buy. 

Anyway, you get the idea. Wild, wild west kind of stuff here. Maybe most importantly, though, another application that gets the mainstream thinking in terms of real-world 3D data and application. That can only be good for those of you armed with data capture devices and a business plan.


Permanent link

Great press for mobile scanning in West Virginia

I know, I know, everyone hates the media. But a good story in a local paper can do wonders for raising the mainstream profile of a still relatively obscure technology like mobile laser scanning. This week, the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia (a Charleston in West Virginia? Who knew?) put up a great story about work Michael Baker, Inc., is doing laser scanning the entire city

And it's not just raising awareness of the technology in general - it's helping you make your case (probably since they're just parroting what Michael Baker, Inc., told them, but still):
 
But rather than map just the sewers, city leaders decided to map the entire city with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Though a bit more expensive than the traditional GPS mapping the city first planned to use, LiDAR is many times faster and more accurate. 
 
You hear that city managers? Many times faster AND more accurate (and just a little more expensive). Really, you'd be a dummy to do it the old way...
 
And what mainstream news story about technology isn't good for a laugh or two?
 
Beside the lasers are two 5 megapixel digital cameras that can shoot pictures at up to three frames per second. 
 
I betcha they can shoot a little faster than that if it were required for them to do so...
 
Regardless, they've got themselves a pretty big project. 345 miles of roadway, at least once in each direction. What would it take with conventional hand-held GPS? "Well over a year," the article notes. 
 
I also love it when you see phrases like "what they call a point cloud of data," because it makes our industry seem so high-tech, but this is probably my favorite part of the article:
 
It's a huge amount of information, about 48 megabits for each second the truck is out collecting -- "about 40 floppy discs every second," Morris said. 
 
"Floppy discs"? What are those? I thought we were high-tech around here. And megabits? For real?
 
Sorry, can't help myself.
 
Anyway, it's kind of too bad that the "why" for all of this is largely left until the end:
 
"If the city needed to know the location of all its traffic signals, they wouldn't have to hire a consultant to do that. They could pull that out. Same thing with street signs, or fire hydrants, or utilities, or pavement conditions." 
 
That real-world application is kind of important. It's not just the mandated storm-sewer stuff. It's that this data can be repurposed in a number of different ways, which is why it's worth the extra money, because it accomplishes much more than just the single project that's necessary to be compliant. This repurposing of the data is vital to its value, which is why it's vital that the city have the tools to actually do get that additional information out. I expect Certainty3D will be giving them a call shortly...

Permanent link

Great press for mobile scanning in West Virginia

I know, I know, everyone hates the media. But a good story in a local paper can do wonders for raising the mainstream profile of a still relatively obscure technology like mobile laser scanning. This week, the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia (a Charleston in West Virginia? Who knew?) put up a great story about work Michael Baker, Inc., is doing laser scanning the entire city

And it's not just raising awareness of the technology in general - it's helping you make your case (probably since they're just parroting what Michael Baker, Inc., told them, but still):
 
But rather than map just the sewers, city leaders decided to map the entire city with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Though a bit more expensive than the traditional GPS mapping the city first planned to use, LiDAR is many times faster and more accurate. 
 
You hear that city managers? Many times faster AND more accurate (and just a little more expensive). Really, you'd be a dummy to do it the old way...
 
And what mainstream news story about technology isn't good for a laugh or two?
 
Beside the lasers are two 5 megapixel digital cameras that can shoot pictures at up to three frames per second. 
 
I betcha they can shoot a little faster than that if it were required for them to do so...
 
Regardless, they've got themselves a pretty big project. 345 miles of roadway, at least once in each direction. What would it take with conventional hand-held GPS? "Well over a year," the article notes. 
 
I also love it when you see phrases like "what they call a point cloud of data," because it makes our industry seem so high-tech, but this is probably my favorite part of the article:
 
It's a huge amount of information, about 48 megabits for each second the truck is out collecting -- "about 40 floppy discs every second," Morris said. 
 
"Floppy discs"? What are those? I thought we were high-tech around here. And megabits? For real?
 
Sorry, can't help myself.
 
Anyway, it's kind of too bad that the "why" for all of this is largely left until the end:
 
"If the city needed to know the location of all its traffic signals, they wouldn't have to hire a consultant to do that. They could pull that out. Same thing with street signs, or fire hydrants, or utilities, or pavement conditions." 
 
That real-world application is kind of important. It's not just the mandated storm-sewer stuff. It's that this data can be repurposed in a number of different ways, which is why it's worth the extra money, because it accomplishes much more than just the single project that's necessary to be compliant. This repurposing of the data is vital to its value, which is why it's vital that the city have the tools to actually do get that additional information out. I expect Certainty3D will be giving them a call shortly...

Permanent link

Great press for mobile scanning in West Virginia

I know, I know, everyone hates the media. But a good story in a local paper can do wonders for raising the mainstream profile of a still relatively obscure technology like mobile laser scanning. This week, the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia (a Charleston in West Virginia? Who knew?) put up a great story about work Michael Baker, Inc., is doing laser scanning the entire city

And it's not just raising awareness of the technology in general - it's helping you make your case (probably since they're just parroting what Michael Baker, Inc., told them, but still):
 
But rather than map just the sewers, city leaders decided to map the entire city with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Though a bit more expensive than the traditional GPS mapping the city first planned to use, LiDAR is many times faster and more accurate. 
 
You hear that city managers? Many times faster AND more accurate (and just a little more expensive). Really, you'd be a dummy to do it the old way...
 
And what mainstream news story about technology isn't good for a laugh or two?
 
Beside the lasers are two 5 megapixel digital cameras that can shoot pictures at up to three frames per second. 
 
I betcha they can shoot a little faster than that if it were required for them to do so...
 
Regardless, they've got themselves a pretty big project. 345 miles of roadway, at least once in each direction. What would it take with conventional hand-held GPS? "Well over a year," the article notes. 
 
I also love it when you see phrases like "what they call a point cloud of data," because it makes our industry seem so high-tech, but this is probably my favorite part of the article:
 
It's a huge amount of information, about 48 megabits for each second the truck is out collecting -- "about 40 floppy discs every second," Morris said. 
 
"Floppy discs"? What are those? I thought we were high-tech around here. And megabits? For real?
 
Sorry, can't help myself.
 
Anyway, it's kind of too bad that the "why" for all of this is largely left until the end:
 
"If the city needed to know the location of all its traffic signals, they wouldn't have to hire a consultant to do that. They could pull that out. Same thing with street signs, or fire hydrants, or utilities, or pavement conditions." 
 
That real-world application is kind of important. It's not just the mandated storm-sewer stuff. It's that this data can be repurposed in a number of different ways, which is why it's worth the extra money, because it accomplishes much more than just the single project that's necessary to be compliant. This repurposing of the data is vital to its value, which is why it's vital that the city have the tools to actually do get that additional information out. I expect Certainty3D will be giving them a call shortly...

Permanent link

Scanning with a sense of wonder

Thanks very much to Twitter and BLDG|BLOG for pointing me in the direction of ScanLAB, which is "an ongoing series of experimental projects investigating the use of 3D laser scanning in architecture," started up by Matthew Shaw and William Trossell, in the UK. 

Part of what they do, like much of 3D imaging, has to be seen to be appreciated, but what's drawn me to them is the sense of wonder and play they bring to laser scanning. Because laser scanners are so expensive, and because they've initially been applied for such practical purposes, it's rare that you see someone just kind of screwing around with them. And, not to cast aspersions, since I'm a big fan of screwing around, that seems to be what these guys are doing (I've got an interview request in, too, and hope to have more of their thoughts soon). 

For instance, I love that they scanned the crowd from the recent conference they attended. Check out this fly-through:

I know it's nothing special, in many ways. Anyone can set up a scanner in front of a crowd and grab a 3D snapshot. But who actually does it? Why didn't we think to do this at SPAR? Why didn't I have myself scanned at SPAR? 

It's definitely true that people are using laser scanning for art purposes, but what these guys are doing seems different than that. They're exploring the technology's potential in more of a philosophical way, thinking about the implications for their profession, thinking about the why. It's playful and fun and creative in a way that can only lead to good things. 

Also of note is that they're using a Focus3D to make that scan above: It becomes a lot easier to screw around when the technology is cheaper and more accessible. Is a $40k scanner "cheap" and "accessible"? I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's heading in that direction. 

Regardless, look for more from ScanLAB and please pass along anyone else who's experimenting like this.

Edit: Different guys, different country, different application, but this is the same basic idea. I mean, holy wow (and great taste in music, too):

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.


Permanent link

Scanning with a sense of wonder

Thanks very much to Twitter and BLDG|BLOG for pointing me in the direction of ScanLAB, which is "an ongoing series of experimental projects investigating the use of 3D laser scanning in architecture," started up by Matthew Shaw and William Trossell, in the UK. 

Part of what they do, like much of 3D imaging, has to be seen to be appreciated, but what's drawn me to them is the sense of wonder and play they bring to laser scanning. Because laser scanners are so expensive, and because they've initially been applied for such practical purposes, it's rare that you see someone just kind of screwing around with them. And, not to cast aspersions, since I'm a big fan of screwing around, that seems to be what these guys are doing (I've got an interview request in, too, and hope to have more of their thoughts soon). 

For instance, I love that they scanned the crowd from the recent conference they attended. Check out this fly-through:

I know it's nothing special, in many ways. Anyone can set up a scanner in front of a crowd and grab a 3D snapshot. But who actually does it? Why didn't we think to do this at SPAR? Why didn't I have myself scanned at SPAR? 

It's definitely true that people are using laser scanning for art purposes, but what these guys are doing seems different than that. They're exploring the technology's potential in more of a philosophical way, thinking about the implications for their profession, thinking about the why. It's playful and fun and creative in a way that can only lead to good things. 

Also of note is that they're using a Focus3D to make that scan above: It becomes a lot easier to screw around when the technology is cheaper and more accessible. Is a $40k scanner "cheap" and "accessible"? I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's heading in that direction. 

Regardless, look for more from ScanLAB and please pass along anyone else who's experimenting like this.

Edit: Different guys, different country, different application, but this is the same basic idea. I mean, holy wow (and great taste in music, too):

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.


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Scanning with a sense of wonder

Thanks very much to Twitter and BLDG|BLOG for pointing me in the direction of ScanLAB, which is "an ongoing series of experimental projects investigating the use of 3D laser scanning in architecture," started up by Matthew Shaw and William Trossell, in the UK. 

Part of what they do, like much of 3D imaging, has to be seen to be appreciated, but what's drawn me to them is the sense of wonder and play they bring to laser scanning. Because laser scanners are so expensive, and because they've initially been applied for such practical purposes, it's rare that you see someone just kind of screwing around with them. And, not to cast aspersions, since I'm a big fan of screwing around, that seems to be what these guys are doing (I've got an interview request in, too, and hope to have more of their thoughts soon). 

For instance, I love that they scanned the crowd from the recent conference they attended. Check out this fly-through:

I know it's nothing special, in many ways. Anyone can set up a scanner in front of a crowd and grab a 3D snapshot. But who actually does it? Why didn't we think to do this at SPAR? Why didn't I have myself scanned at SPAR? 

It's definitely true that people are using laser scanning for art purposes, but what these guys are doing seems different than that. They're exploring the technology's potential in more of a philosophical way, thinking about the implications for their profession, thinking about the why. It's playful and fun and creative in a way that can only lead to good things. 

Also of note is that they're using a Focus3D to make that scan above: It becomes a lot easier to screw around when the technology is cheaper and more accessible. Is a $40k scanner "cheap" and "accessible"? I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's heading in that direction. 

Regardless, look for more from ScanLAB and please pass along anyone else who's experimenting like this.

Edit: Different guys, different country, different application, but this is the same basic idea. I mean, holy wow (and great taste in music, too):

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.


Permanent link