5 Cool Point Cloud Projects

Friday, June 3, 2016

Whether you're recording historical sites for preservation or mapping out older buildings for operations purposes, laser scanning has a big role to play in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) and building information modeling (BIM).

Laser scanning technology lets users gather massive amounts of data about a given site's structures right down to the last detail and even other relevant information like topology and elevation in a relatively short amount of time.

This information is then gathered into a point cloud, which can be used for all sorts of purposes—including turning existing structures into interactive BIM models.

Here's a look at five cool point cloud projects created by the users of laser scanning technology.

St. Mary's Basilica

The St. Mary's Basilica (Bazylika Mariacka), located in Krakow, Poland, is a beautiful old European church dating back to 1320. The current Gothic-style structure was rebuilt on the foundation of the original church, which was destroyed in the Tatar raids of the 13th century.

This particular project, completed by 3D BIM company ARGASprojekt (whose website is only available in Polish), explores the church in an astonishing level of detail and color. Check it out

Banska Stiavnica

This particular point cloud project is on a very different scale. Banska Stiavnica is a historic town located in the Stiavnica Mountains of Slovakia. The town, which sits on a site first settled as far back as the Neolithic period, is known for its silver and gold mining industry.

The somewhat sparse point cloud showcases the entirety of the town and some of the surrounding mountains, as well as the town’s mine. Check it out:

Prince's Hall of Leubus Abbey

Leubus Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery with a history reaching back to 1175. The abbey, which is located in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship of Poland, showcases Baroque Silesian architecture.

The Prince's Hall is an elaborate structure that contradicts the traditional trope of a monastery. The project, completed by archaeology enthusiast Piotr Bialobrzycki, illustrates this intricate detail. Check it out:

The Heartspace Project: University of Sheffield

The Heartspace Project at the University of Sheffield in the UK is an endeavor to add a large, dramatically modern atrium between two stately structures on the university’s campus.

As a preliminary stage to the project, surveyors came in and created a model of the two structures, the Sir Frederick Mappin Building and the 1885 Central Wing.

Although this project isn't strictly a point cloud, it did begin as one. The team at Bury Associates Ltd. used FARO scanners to gather data, then registered this data in FARO’s SCENE software before turning it into a Revit BIM model.

The highly detailed model showcases the architectural features of the structures and even goes in-depth enough to include mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems.

Zionskirche

The Zionskirche is a Romanesque structure with Gothic elements that can trace its heritage back to roughly 1864, when it was commissioned for the municipality of Zion in Berlin. It suffered through the Second World War, remaining poorly cared for until a full restoration took place in 1992.

The structure and its grounds make for a stunning point cloud visualization. Have a look:

The project used FARO scanners and FARO’s SCENE software to create and render the point cloud.

With projects like these in the works, it won’t be long before point cloud renderings and laser scanning become the way of the built environment.

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