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It is a well-known fact that reality capture technologies have real-world implications for design and construction companies.

What is Meant by Reality Capture?

Reality capture can be defined as the procedure of scanning an object, building or site in the real world and converting that scanned data into models or visualizations. It has been pointed out that design and construction workflows make use of reality capture technologies. Reality capture technology of the contemporary age can create textured and high-resolution 3D models that can be manipulated in design and construction software. It is an undisputable fact that reality capture technologies have eventually replaced traditional methods of surveying and assessing a construction or renovation site.

Capture, compute and create are the three key steps involved in the reality capture process. The first step in the reality capture process is scanning a site using hardware such as laser scanners or camera-mounted unmanned aerial vehicles. The next step is capturing a detailed set of data or points for further processing and scan data is automatically registered with the help of reality capture software. It is stitched into a coordinate system, analyzed, and cleaned up.

The end result is a point cloud or mesh ready for CAD and BIM(Building Information Modeling) authoring tools. It has been reported that the base information is a model of up-to-date data of actual site conditions, whether on a renovation project or infrastructure project. Reality capture technologies of today can be completed in a fraction of the time with only basic training as well as certification. A typical reality capture technology uses readily accessible equipment and it is affordable for any size project. Many prominent construction organizations have started implementing reality capture technologies at the project level.

The usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, photogrammetry, LIDAR, and scans to BIM workflows and CAD integrations pave the way towards fast, accurate, and cost-effective data.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned aerial vehicles have become common in worksites and operating a drone is inexpensive. It is fast, easy, and cheap to gather critical site data using unmanned aerial vehicles popularly known as drones. An unmanned aerial vehicle power-packed with the right scanning equipment is a great reality capture tool. A drone can be deployed in minutes and the data will be made available within hours.


Photogrammetry is a type of 3D scanning that uses photographs and triangulation to build an accurate model of a site or structure. Photogrammetry scanning can be performed at close range, via satellite or from the air and drones transformed photogrammetry into an inexpensive and simple option. Photogrammetry equipment is used to take photos of an entire site and structure from multiple angles. It triangulates the visual data in order to create a 3D model that can be used for planning as well as design. Photogrammetry can be effectively used to monitor progress and analyze any problems during the construction process.


LIDAR, also termed laser scanning, functions by shooting pulses of laser light at an object and measuring the distance based on how much time it takes the light to return to the sensor. Laser scanning can be used from the ground or the air and it is wonderful to note that it has become an accessible and practical scanning method. LIDAR is expensive compared to photogrammetry and it provides benefits on some types of projects. It is highly effective in creating models of sites where trees and other objects block the underlying surface. The elegant feature of LIDAR is that it can be combined with infrared to create more accurate surveys.

The point clouds from LIDAR scanning are more accurate since it creates more points. Lidar inspections will improve construction safety and efficiency and it is a cost-effective method of improving construction safety. The key benefits of LIDAR inspections for construction projects include delivering accurate surveys quickly at the beginning of the project, providing information for simulation, and identifying maintenance requirements of the project. The LIDAR technology can be used on helicopters, planes, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Scan to BIM Workflows and CAD Integrations

The real prowess of reality capture can be released when the technology is integrated into software and construction workflows. Scan to BIM workflow can take reality capture from data to deployable BIM model in a short time span. Workflows are intuitive so that any industry professional can navigate quickly and easily without training. One-click automated processes are designed to carry out tasks like auto scan registration and it stitches multiple scans into a single point cloud.

Data can integrate directly with prominent CAD and BIM design tools including AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks, Civil3D, and Infraworks. Builders can integrate captured data into the entire process from design and validation with the help of Scan to BIM workflows and CAD integrations. Contractors who understand reality capture will lead the industry in the future and these technologies can reduce costs, speed up timelines and increase quality.

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