Virtual Construction Monitoring with NavVis
Construction management can take place on-site or remotely—sometimes even on another continent. NavVis has developed a 3D scanning and imaging solution that benefits clients and builders wherever they are.
I first met NavVis at the AEC Hackathon in Munich last year. The company demonstrated how they could use a mobile scanning device for the 3D scanning of interiors. The three-wheeled device was equipped with six cameras, three laser scanners, and sensors to capture point clouds, panoramic images, and location data. You simply push the M3 Trolley through the spaces you want to scan, and the system takes care of the rest. The vendor claimed that a person could scan up to 30,000 square meters of spaces in one day. The result is an accurate, immersive visual model of the building’s interior.
Later in 2017, I met with Marcus Bergsli, Business Development Manager of NavVis here in Helsinki. “We see ourselves as a technology company developing 3D visualization software and hardware to quickly capture the data. We make buildings digital, make the data visible, and provide means to navigate that data visually,” Marcus says.
A Three-Part Solution
For the first five years, NavVis was a research project. The company was founded in 2013. The fairly long history explains why the technology is as solid and tested as it is today.
In addition to the M3 Trolley, two other NavVis products— 3D visualization software and vision-based indoor positioning technology —make the huge amount of spatial data usable.
IndoorViewer is a browser-based user interface to the point cloud. It reads the point-cloud data from the M3 Trolley but also accepts data from other devices, for example drones or hand-held scanners. “We see IndoorViewer as an open platform to visualize data,” Marcus points out. “It becomes a platform on top of which people can build their own applications. We can integrate it with, for example, ERP systems, project management tools, IoT systems, and so on.”
The third NavVis product is the navigation technology. When integrated into an existing or newly developed app, users can navigate visually in large or complicated buildings, like airports or industrial facilities. It uses all the available data sources, from WiFi to Bluetooth to image recognition, to locate the user’s position indoors.
Visual Construction Management
Marcus showed me an example of how NavVis can be used to monitor construction sites. The contractor can scan the site regularly and annotate the visual models with comments or other information as Points of Interest. This is a standard feature of the IndoorViewer. It’s also possible to integrate the model data with project management or other software.
The storage and sharing of construction site information visually has many practical uses. You can track project progress over time and share images with a description of an exact location in the building. An accurate visual record of the project helps in case there’s a need to check deviations from the plan or resolve disputes. Scanning with the M3 Trolley achieves centimeter-accuracy, so designers and subcontractors can use the images to take exact measurements off-site.
Big construction companies see the benefits of 3D scanning and clients are enthusiastic about the possibilities of the technology. Marcus believes that clients may start wanting to include 3D scanning and imaging as a part of a construction contract.
Building an Ecosystem
NavVis is building an ecosystem of building owners, mapping partners, and solution partners. They provide open interfaces for application development. The company is also a member of the SAP PartnerEdge ecosystem. NavVis has announced many partnerships recently, including Zynca BIM from Sweden, Allthings from Switzerland, and Clove Technologies (India).
For more information on NavVis, visit www.navvis.com.