In simple terms, reality capture devices are instruments which capture real world data through imagery and pointclouds. This data is then utilised within CAD/BIM software to create an exact digital twin of the real-world. With digitised information there is an opportunity to add significant value throughout every stage of the BIM process, from saving money and time on projects to minimising risk and error, while acting as a tool to accelerate and enhance already adopted workflows.

Reality capture comes in many forms such as mobile mapping, hand held devices and terrestrial laser scanners. The choice of hardware, software and workflow is all dependant on the requirements of those using the data. Reality capture principals fall in line with those echoed throughout the BIM mandate, as the data acts as translucent truthful information for all to coordinate and work from together in collaborative environment.

As-Built Modelling

As-Built modelling takes a great deal of time and often mistakes, encountered from poor survey information, result in returning to site. Using terrestrial laser scanners to produce highly accurate pointclouds, to be taken into environments such as Revit with ease, enables confidence that the information collected is correct and true to reality avoiding the need to return to site.

With an arsenal of software solutions available with visual aids, feature extraction, the ability to intelligently segment the data amongst the many tools, converting this data into a BIM model is an easy process. Software can come in the form of standalone modelling packages or plugins such as cloudworx for the likes of Revit, Autocad, BricsCAD, and MicroStation. For buildings more complex in nature, which you may not be able to digitise easily through standalone survey information, using pointclouds enables you to create mesh objects to facilitate the modelling of intricate building elements.

Deviation Reporting and Clash Detection

Capturing the as-constructed environment, used in both construction and manufacturing sectors, allows us to analyse and compare the data against the intended design model. Intelligent surface analysis software, such as 3DReshaper, enables us to analyse surfaces, such as floor flatness, verticality analysis and inspection of profiles for a range of requirements. This information is crucial in the analysis of structures or, by comparing as-constructed data to design models within software such as Revit, to rectify the design model for changes or remedial works which must remain on site.

To create an accurate digital twin, and for later efficient use for post life cycle asset management the design model should then be updated to be in line with as-constructed information.

A popular use for pointclouds is clash detection; comparing the design model in its constructed package, or with external software packages, enables clash detection information to be reported and actioned on site, thus reducing the cost of design errors.

Data Sharing 

Leica Geosystems stores data within data vaults which enables segmentation out to the desired parties through intelligent data management. Software such as Jetstream, directly links into BIM software. Having captured the real-world environment, we can use this digital portal of information for asset management processes as we “geo tag” true to life information to specific elements/areas within our data through text, links and documents.

Reality capture is not just for the skilled individual as this data is easily accessible and interacted with for new users. It can link manufacturers’ data for products to real-world elements or even link to libraries such as NBS where we can see product data and downloadable BIM models.