Our last post looked at how Reality Computing is used to capture existing conditions of an infrastructure project. Now let’s look at how civil engineers are using that data for their projects.
Existing conditions (in the form of captured reality data) can be brought into 3D modeling software to provide physical context during the design, construction, refurbishment, or management of infrastructure. This digital representation of existing conditions is used as a reference during design, to verify accuracy before and during construction, and to guide decisions for operations and maintenance.
Reality-captured existing conditions data can be brought into 3D modeling software to provide physical context
during the design, construction, refurbishment, or management of infrastructure.
The exactness of the reality-captured existing conditions data means that the information behind decision-making is current and accurate. Designs can be digitally tested and checked to help confirm ‘fit’ before actual construction. During construction, existing conditions as well as the already as-built portions of the projects can be coordinated with future construction. The use of reality data can help avoid field rework, redesigns, work stoppages, and in some cases even lawsuits—reducing overall project costs and schedules.
Project teams often combine a variety of data capture formats—including point clouds, meshes, satellite images, GIS data, and traditional survey information—based on the resolution or accuracy needed for the task, to provide a more complete view of a project. For example, existing digital terrain models, aerial photography, and GIS data alone might be sufficient to develop and present conceptual designs of a new water distribution project. But during detailed design and construction planning for the new water main, more accurate information is needed. High-definition ground-based scanning can be used to digitally represent existing conditions of the project area—developing the design of the new system using accurate terrain and above-ground utility data.
Captured reality data can also be used to analyze existing conditions of structures such as dams, bridges, tunnels for ongoing safety and/or maintenance assessments. Transportation departments for example, can use mobile LiDAR scanning with feature recognition software to survey highway bridges and extract measurements to identify sagging.
The next post will examine how Reality Computing technologies are used to digitally reshape existing terrain and build new infrastructure.