Crystal Ball Gazing

Ive heard it said that as we get older the years seem to accelerate. For me, 2013 was no exception. Staring at the start of another New Year I like to contemplate where Ive been over the past year and what the New Year may bring. In 2013 my business saw a definite increase in the adoption of 3D for both scanning and modeling. With main stream software packages now supporting the import and use of point cloud data more and more firms are beginning to see the value of 3D. The decreasing costs and ease in which point cloud data can be captured and processed is increasing which is adding to the rapid adoption of the technology.

Looking forward to 2014 I predict photogrammetry and structured light sensor technologies will continue to advance and play a more pivotal role in the capture and processing of existing conditions data. The combination of these technologies with UAV technology will also continue to evolve. While these technologies are fast and affordable, they still cant match the accuracy of laser scanning. However, for some applications they are proving to be good enough. Watch for these technologies to become a bigger part of the reality capture market in 2014. As a service provider these are must haves in my box of tools for the coming year.

Automated scan data registration and feature extraction using products such as Autodesks Recap will increase the adoption rate of 3D imagery and pose both a challenge and opportunity for service providers. On the one hand, clients may keep more of the processing in-house opting for delivery of only the scan data. However, the opportunity lies in that many people may now consider working with 3D imagery that previously werent, thus increasing the overall demand for 3D services. Opportunity will be found for those who embrace the changes in the technology and help educate their clients.

Organizations such as the buildingSMARTalliance (bSa), the BIM Forum, CyArk, and the U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD) will continue to serve as a place for building documentation stakeholders to come together to create and advance standards, to share knowledge, receive education and to keep an eye on the ever changing horizon of future technologies.

As we step into a new year and the challenges and opportunities that it brings I suspect one thing will be certain the old adage will hold true yet another year and before you know it well soon find ourselves staring at 2015.

Happy New Year!