Surveyors in today’s market need to help engineers and builders leverage the latest technology to get jobs done faster, more accurately, and at lower costs. How they’re accomplishing this is by helping clients enhance building information modeling (BIM) and computer aided drafting (CAD) with visualization. Using point cloud visualization software, surveyors can provide up-to-date, real-world representations of job sites and facilities, essentially revolutionizing BIM in much the same way BIM revolutionized CAD.
BIM Evolves From CAD
BIM represents a significant step forward from traditional CAD, adding crucial data to designs that otherwise would have to be augmented with additional documentation. Where CAD simply lets computers make drafting and drawing more efficient, BIM turns elements from designs into actual informational modules rather than just representational lines.
Take a simple design of a room with one door, for example. In CAD software, double lines might represent walls and a standard door icon, the door. Lines are drawn to scale to represent real-world dimensions, but that’s the end of usable data. Add BIM to the equation and instead of just a double line, a wall is actually a data module. Click on it and pull up materials specs, thickness, cost estimates – any data needed to properly execute and budget for the build. Not to mention, data modules can interact – meaning they offer functionality like the ability to change a wall length and have every connected element move in accordance.
But BIM has its own limitations when it comes to representing in-progress builds, renovations, or any situation where stakeholders need to know what’s actually there in addition to design intentions. This is where point clouds and BIM work together to further improve the process.
How Point Clouds Improve BIM
Point clouds and BIM are perfect partners, which explains increasing use of and demand for point cloud models. Point clouds are built from 3D reality capture scans of existing sites. Usually, several scans from various perspectives are run, producing several smaller point clouds – or sets of locational points representing 3D space. Once these data sets are stitched together using a process called point cloud registration, the resulting point cloud accurately represents a site as it really exists.
This data is crucial to engineers, contractors, and facilities managers for making corrections as builds progress, managing existing facilities, or planning renovations. With point cloud data in hand, BIMs can be compared to and match the real world. 3D models called digital twins can even be created, allowing all parties to view the facility as is, reducing travel to facilities. Surveyors who provide this kind of data improve efficiency and profitability for their clients, improving relationships across the board.
Maximize the Value of Point Cloud Enhanced BIM
Once accurate, up-to-date BIMs are created using point cloud data, the next step is to visualize and centralize this data and connect it with all other pertinent information in one, cloud-accessible location. This is what visualization software like JP Interactive Viewer is for.
With JPIV, surveyors can provide access to an accurate, up-to-date digital twin, complete with all BIM data and connected information like original CAD drawings, operational KPIs, maintenance records, and more. If you’re ready to find out how you can leverage point clouds to enhance BIMs and streamline projects for your AEC clients, contact us for your free trial of JP Interactive Viewer today.