Delivering accurate representations of built environments
Shamrock+, based in Savannah Georgia, provides creative and visual solutions to individuals and businesses through photography and 3D data collection services. Using UAVs, cameras, sensors and software, Shamrock+ delivers accurate representations of built environments for their clients.
Shamrock+ largely works within Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), however, they also assist professionals with projects in the Real Estate sector. Their solutions include photography, progress documentation, creating 3D data visualisations, and as-built.
Shamrock+ originally used a static-based LiDAR solution to produce their 3D point clouds. Though highly accurate, they needed a faster solution for collecting data. Additionally, they needed a versatile scanner that can be mounted to UAVs and cars to capture larger areas.
As a result, Shamrock+ chose to work with GeoSLAM’s ZEB Horizon scanner.
What used to take hours to scan, is now taking us significantly less time to cover more areas.
Using the ZEB Horizon laser scanner on UAVs
The ZEB Horizon has significantly reduced the time needed to scan, whilst simultaneously delivering accurate data. The easy-to-use solution and simple setup mean the team could immediately begin scanning.
Many of the areas Shamrock+ capture are large exterior spaces, and the 100m range of the ZEB Horizon make it the ideal solution. The team carried out an architectural scan of an approximately 10,000 sq. ft Community Bible Church (CBC) in Savannah, GA. This project consisted of 3 individual scans of the interior building and its surrounding area, with the scan time ranging from 10 to 30 minutes.
Shamrock+ uses the ZEB Horizon laser scanner on UAVs, handheld and with GeoSLAM’s car mount accessories. The versatile solution provides Shamrock+ with the ability to switch from air based data capture to scanning large areas in a very short amount of time.
Creating 3D BIM files, floorplans and more with GeoSLAM technology
Shamrock+ has completed more than a dozen projects to date, each with its own challenges. From scanning building interiors for renovation, to mapping acres of land for topographical data, the ZEB Horizon has proven to be a tool that can overcome the challenges it has faced so far.
Shamrock+ processes the ZEB Horizon’s data using GeoSLAM Connect. They also internally integrate the point clouds into other software platforms to create 3D BIM files, floorplans, elevations, contours, and much more.
By using GeoSLAM’s technology, Shamrock+ can capture large acres of land in a short period of time. This speeds up their data collection process without sacrificing accuracy, which allows them to spend more time on creating high quality visual solutions for their clients.
If you’d like to learn more about how GeoSLAM solutions can help you, submit the form below.
Real Estate in the Netherlands
Real Estate is a fast-moving and highly competitive market. Companies are reliant on good customer relationships based on trust. They realise the importance of providing accurate measurements and specifications of the properties they are advertising. Buildings incorrectly measured could be under or overvalued, which could result in complaints, invalidate a sale, or damage their reputation.
This is particularly pertinent in the Netherlands, as they have placed a high level of importance on delivering accurate floorplans when advertising a property. In fact, a new regulation was introduced in 2010 after properties in Amsterdam were sold at a higher cost, after being overvalued due to incorrect floorplan measurements. The regulation, BBMI, requires businesses advertising properties to provide accurate floorplans or face potentially heavy fines.
This required businesses to think differently about how they could quickly and accurately assess the properties they were advertising.
How ZIEN24 create Measurement Reports for Real Estate
Rotterdam based media and marketing company, ZIEN24, realised they needed to modernise how they measure properties in light of the regulations. ZIEN24 produces content and digital floorplans for estate agents, covering all types of residential and commercial properties.
The company began measuring properties using laser rangefinders, which were not only time-consuming but also not cost-effective. The company received complaints when properties were not measured within the limits of the regulation, and the team had to occasionally return to properties to re-measure them. In addition, ZIEN24 was sending both photographers and surveyors to properties, which was not cost-effective or ideal for their clients.
Having worked with point clouds previously, ZIEN24s co-owner, Boy Van Houten, thought that they could be the solution for accuracy. However, they needed a setup that was quick and effective, so static-based systems were not an option. After researching different scanner options, they decided to try GeoSLAM’s ZEB Revo RT with the ZEB Pano accessory.
Why ZIEN24 chose to work with the ZEB Revo RT
The ZEB Revo RT is highly accurate, fast, and easy to use. As it requires minimal training, ZIEN24 taught their photographers to scan properties when they’re on location taking marketing photos. This negated the need for a surveyor, saving ZIEN24 money which could be passed on to their clients. The scanners accuracy largely removes the risk of human error, and ZIEN24 have not received any complaints since starting to use GeoSLAM scanners back in 2019.
The addition of the ZEB Pano allows them to take informative 360 degree panoramic photography, at a much quicker pace, during a scan. The ZEB Pano stores the exact location of each panoramic image within the scan, enabling more accurate and less intrusive property surveys. This is vital for ZIEN24, as the popularity of virtual house tours increases within the real estate industry.
The GeoSLAM scanner not only gives us confidence in the end product but gives our clients peace of mind knowing that our fully-automated measurements are highly accurate.
How the ZEB Revo RT has helped ZIEN24with their Real Estate services
As the scanner captures in real-time, the photographers can easily ensure that they are capturing every room, as they walk around. Furthermore, the speed of capture, 200m2 in 15 minutes, means that more properties can be assigned to photographers per day. The data is then processed in their offices in China, and accurate floorplan reports are typically turned around within 24 hours.
The ZEB Revo RT has also helped them to expand into other markets, and they now offer scanning services to support BIM models.
Surveying buildings is difficult and accessing hard to reach areas, like dropped ceiling or raised floors, without disrupting business can be seemingly impossible. In this blog we’ll discuss how SLAM and LiDAR technology has made scanning behind dropped ceilings a simple process.
ZEB Family | Safely surveying a hazardous power station
All over the globe, countries are looking to nuclear and hydro renewables, not only to provide their electricity needs but to meet climate goals. This is resulting in the shutting down of coal-fossil power plants that no longer have a role to play in a fast-changing world.
Opened in 1962, the Athlone Power Station was the last coal-fired power station operating in Cape Town, South Africa when it stopped generating power in 2003. The iconic cooling towers, which were known by locals as “The two ladies of Athlone” and had long been a feature of the Cape Town landscape, were demolished several years later.
The efficient user-friendly GeoSLAM equipment enabled the team to safely and comprehensively survey this hazardous and complex plant.
Proper planning was essential as demolition can be potentially hazardous for the safety of personnel due to the plant’s age-structure, and onsite teams often having to operate across split levels, in total darkness. The removal of contaminated waste can be equally challenging. Cost is also a major factor and companies responsible for shutting down plant are continuously looking at ways to be cost effective while providing a reliable, fast and efficient service.
Aurecon, a global engineering, design and advisory company, won the tender from the City of Cape Town to project manage the site for the final stage of decommission. This involved surveying the plant whilst stripping, clearing and removing unused material, redundant equipment and certain historical structures. Their task also included securing all remaining structures, leaving the site in a secure state and registering servitudes for remaining bulk services. Aurecon found Athlone to be a challenging project due to accessibility issues and lack of light. Also, because of the Power Station’s historical importance, salvaging certain unique equipment had to be considered. The team needed a simple and effective solution that could accurately map the site quickly while keeping them safe in a tough environment.
Aurecon chose to work with mobile LiDAR scanners so that the historians, structural engineers and environmentalists could have the data they needed, without having to enter the potentially dangerous site. For the Athlone project, GeoSLAM’s ZEB Revo RT scanner and ZEB Pano camera were used, as well as theZEB Horizon and ZEB Cam. The building’s interior and exterior were scanned with the ZEB scanners The two data sets were merged to provide a full 3D point cloud of the entire building.
Using the Pano, the team generated photos that were incorporated inside the point cloud, so that the offsite survey team could have greater visualisation of the site to feedback commentary. The efficiency of the scanners and speed of capture meant that unlike other scanning methods, the team could repeatedly capture the site. This meant that decisions and assessments could be taken frequently, without the need for lots of people to visit the dangerous site.
In total, the whole facility was scanned in three days with data sets processed overnight, a total of eight hours. The combined datasets were available within a week, which enabled Aurecon’s modellers to commence work on the classification of components in the power station.
The final 3D point cloud representation of the interior of the power station enabled the engineering team to assess and quantify the amount of salvage and scrapped material to be removed from the site, and to plan the logistics of the removal in context with the physical shape and size of the existing building.
The accurate 3D model equipped the stakeholders with information that allowed them to safely and precisely analyse for activities such as material quantification, condition assessment and the preparation of decommissioning method statements.
Professor Hess and Carla Ferreyra | University of Bamberg
Background With the adoption of digital technologies such as laser scanning, photogrammetry and other digital tools becoming ever more prevalent in conservation and preservation; it is easy to see why, in 2017, the University of Bamberg launched a new master’s degree, ‘Digital Technologies in Heritage Conservation’. Spearheaded by Professor Mona Hess, the course covers the integration and adoption of digital technologies in heritage conservation and its further development, as well as raising the profile of this research topic. In addition to running the course, Professor Hess and her team often employ their skills and expertise in the field, creating 3D digital models for preservation purposes, to build knowledge of certain areas or to educate a wider audience about a new culture.
“The 3D recording is a methodological tool for the representation and interpretation of cultural heritage, landscape and architecture, to build knowledge, create meaning and make culture accessible to all.“
The Scan In 2020, Professor Hess was approached by ‘Cisterscapes | Cistercian Landcapes in Central Europe’ and was tasked with contributing to the digital recordings of 2 gardens. The scan would focus on the baroque agricultural buildings with designed gardens; Ebracher Hof in Mainstockheim and Ebracher Hof in Oberschwappach, both properties of the Ebrach Monastery.
The aim of the scan was to create reliable information, assess the landscapes development status and design management plans for maintenance and conservation. Professor Hess, accompanied by PHD student Carla Ferreyra, visited the sites in October 2020 to conduct the scans. With approximately 3 hectares of land to cover, the team needed a SLAM scanning solution that was quick, easy to use, suitable for both indoor/outdoor use and a solution with reliable results. Professor Hess chose GeoSLAMs ZEB Horizon with the ZEB Pano, because of the rapid data acquisition throughout the site up to 100m.
Other laser scanning techniques were considered in the planning process, however none quite provided the freedom the ZEB Horizon did, often with restrictions around mobility and time. In September 2020, a similar scan had taken place using a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) of a specific area of the Mainstockheim garden. In comparison, the GeoSLAM scanner reduced the time and labour costs when completing the scan. The team were able to complete their scan of Mainstockheim (including an interior space of the baroque building) in just under 3 hours.
In Oberschwappach, the total scan time was approximately 30 minutes. Their only concern during the scan was encountering the general public, however due to the lightweight nature of the ZEB Horizon and Pano, it was easy to avoid busier parts of the garden. Where they did encounter other guests (due to their curiosity over the scanner) Professor Hess and Carla simply repeated the scan of that specific area. All in all, the scan was a success, and Professor Hess and Carla were able to deliver on their task.
The Results With the completion of the scan, not only does Professor Hess have fresh scan data that can be used to educate the next generation on how digital technologies can be used in heritage conservation, but they are also being used to extract 2D information, such as orthophotos, plans and sections in 1:50 scale and BIM models. Furthermore, videos of the scan were created – these serve as informational and educational pieces of content. Finally, the scans serve to raise awareness of these historic gardens, promote a scientifically accurate recording and also makes the heritage accessible to all. Professor Hess is currently using the scanner and scans for research & teaching, and she has observed that a lot of her students are enthusiastic about the speed of the process.
Looking Forward In 2021 Professor Hess is looking to extend the project further at Ebrach Abbey and the gardens, to contribute to the Cistercian Cultural Heritage project. Additionally, she is looking to create a digital twin model of a historic city using the ZEB Horizon, to research semantic 3D city models with information about urban heritage in the project ‘BIM to Twin’.
Would you like to see a specific dataset that’s not on this page? Contact [email protected]
Virtually recreating theOld Tucson Studios
Outdoor Film Studio
University of Arizona GIS Program | Words by Prof. Chris Lukinbeal
Between tours and filming, Old Tucson Studios is a dynamic environment that couldn’t shut down to accommodate our University of Arizona 3D scanning team. With the equivalent of four city blocks and dozens of building exteriors and interiors to scan, we had to move fast. The team relied on the ZEB Horizon mobile scanner equipped with the ZEB Cam to quickly and accurately capture the geometry, architecture and appearance of the film set.
We want film buffs to experience Old Tucson Studios the way it looked during its heyday when some of Hollywood’s biggest Western movies were filmed there. The colorized point clouds generated with the GeoSLAM devices will serve as the core data set upon which 3D models, and eventually, Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences will be created. Archived air photos and drone imagery, as well as photogrammetric measurements pulled from original films, will also help us create digital versions of the movie studio at key points in its history.
The ‘Downtown Tucson’ main street and plaza stretch almost a quarter mile. Stationary scanners may seem like the obvious choice for long-range data capture, but there wasn’t time to set up and take down those types of devices. And we needed richer detail. Our scan technician held the mobile ZEB Horizon and moved quickly through the streets, dodging studio personnel and vehicles. She entered those buildings with real interiors and scanned them as well.
Scanning with the ZEB Cam adds context to the point cloud. The scanner with mounted camera was held steady at chest level. At each building, the technician stopped and pointed the device directly at the façade as if snapping a still photo, and then slowly turned around to scan the surroundings. This captured a rich 3D scan data set for each structure along with its context on the movie set.
“I’ve seen the quality of the point cloud and it’s amazing“
The entire Downtown Tucson portion of the studio was scanned in two hours. Afterwards, the technician processed the scans and video footage into a colorized point cloud running the ZEB Hub software on a standard laptop. Extraneous people and vehicles were filtered from the point clouds later with an open-source third-party software.
We will build 3D representations of the studio at major periods of its history – 1938 when it was built for the film Arizona, the 1950s and 60s when four John Wayne Westerns were shot there, and the mid-1990s just before a devastating fire. This will require merging the 3D models of today with archived air photos and film photogrammetry to re-create buildings that no longer exist.
In the future, you will be able to walk the Old Tucson Studios lot wearing a VR headset and ‘see’ how the site looked during filming of epic motion pictures such as Rio Bravo, Gunfight at OK the Coral, and Tombstone. Who knows? John Wayne himself might swagger out of the saloon doors right in front of you.
Minnesota Manholes– Scanning Safely and Quickly in Confined, Hazardous Spaces
Sewer pipe network
Public works and energy utilities are continually looking for new ways to protect the safety of their personnel in the field. With the help of the GeoSLAM ZEB Revo mobile laser scanner and the specially designed GeoSLAM Cradle, the cramped and hazardous spaces in manholes can now be captured in 3D without putting field workers at risk.
“An engineering survey firm scanned the interiors of 4,500 manholes with the ZEB Revo for a Minnesota municipality,”
What lies beneath the manhole covers found in nearly every city and town varies considerably. Some are access points to extensive storm water and sewer pipe networks. Others are entries into utility conduits through which water mains and electric lines are run. A few manholes are simply tight underground spaces where key pieces of municipal infrastructure reside.
Regardless of their function, manholes and the assets they contain are difficult and sometimes hazardous to map. Not only are the interior spaces dark, dirty, confined and usually wet, they pose potential risks related to cave-ins, poor ventilation and rodent infestations. Above ground, the manhole access points are often in the middle of busy streets requiring set-up of a cone zone to try and protect workers from passing traffic.
“You capture the data you need for one job and then have information someone else might need for another without a second site visit.“
This combination of hazards compels workers to spend as little time inside the manhole as possible. As a result, they have traditionally captured only the measurements they need for the project at hand – usually with a surveying level rod.
You capture the data you need for one job and then have information someone else might need for another without a second site visit. One of the most common applications is measuring the elevations of pipe inverts to map a water supply or drainage network in preparation for system expansion or maintenance. Personal hazards aside, making accurate asset measurements in a tight underground space with a long level rod can be challenging.
The ZEB Revo is increasingly being turned to for these jobs because the handheld laser scanner is fast, accurate, and captures comprehensive point clouds. Most importantly, it keeps personnel out of harm’s way. Favoured for manhole environments because of its high IP rating, which means it can be used in dirty and wet conditions, the ZEB Revo can be lowered into the underground space with the GeoSLAM Cradle.
In just a few minutes, the lightweight device can capture 360-degree scans inside the space regardless of available lighting. Even if the assets being surveyed are offset from the opening or several meters down tunnels, the ZEB Revo captures the 3D scan data needed to generate an accurate point cloud of the subsurface space.
“The first benefit of laser scanning [in manholes] is safety. The second is you collect a very comprehensive and complete data set. You capture the data you need for one job and then have information someone else [in the organization] might need for another…without a second site visit.