Construction surveying is an integral part of the build process. Ensure that you’re completing the steps correctly to make your property safe and functional.
What Is Construction Surveying?
Construction surveying is staking out or determining reference points for the construction process. Construction surveying is about seeing what is already on the location. These items could be anything from patches of trees to existing buildings.
Construction surveying is also used to determine where the location of any new buildings should go. Keeping all of this information organized is vital to the construction process.
Why Is Construction Surveying Necessary?
When you start on new construction, you want to ensure that your plans will come out the way you intended. You need to know how to execute them to match your vision, keep your workers safe and follow any laws and guidelines. Construction surveys help you determine the safety of the land where you want to place a building, roadway or bridge.
Construction surveying allows you to better understand the area you have to work with. Ensuring the location is viable for the new build is vital to keeping workers, partners and clients safe during future use.
What Should Be Included in a Construction Survey?
You should include several elements in the construction survey process, including:
A basic border survey that marks where your property ends and another begins.
Some information on easements, other building locations, underground structures or utilities.
An outline of the elevations and contours of the land.
A plan of where new facilities and roads will go.
A reexamination of the finished project to see how closely it aligns with the measurements.
What Equipment Do Construction Surveyors Use?
Gathering all the information listed above requires specialized equipment. Some of the machines and tools construction surveyors use include:
Levels and theodolites: Surveyors use these instruments to measure angles, horizontal and vertical slopes.
Electronic distance measurement: Surveyors may also choose to use these computerized tools to take measurements.
Global positioning systems (GPS): Surveyors use GPS devices to measure and collect information about the land.
Geographic information systems (GIS): Surveyors can use these devices to create visual maps that represent all of the data they collect.
Contact Take-off Professionals About Construction Surveying Today
At Take-off Professionals, we understand the importance of accurate construction surveying on your next project. We are a team of full-time professionals who build 3D models for your construction jobs. Our only focus is to take your data and create something visual from it.
We have a platform that you can use to access your data and add other files and notes. Take-off Professionals has been in business for over 20 years, and we work on a national scale. We work on around 1000 3D models for machine controls every year. Our team provides detailed quotes and fast turnaround times, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you partner with us.
Finding volume with contour lines is essential to your business operations. Increase precision by calculating volume from topographical 3D models.
What Are Contour Lines?
You can find contour lines on topographical maps. These lines define the elevation levels of a particular terrain. Contour lines with a wider distance between them indicate a more gradual slope. If they’re close together, that means that the elevation is steeper.
Contour lines represent an area where all locations on that line are at the same height. We use these lines to determine the elevation and topography of a landscape. In the case of construction work, surveying the land can help you decide where to locate new structures and where you may need leveling work.
What Are the Formulas?
You can determine volume using contour lines in two ways:
Prismodial method: This method offers a precise way to get an estimate of the volume. The formula is generally known as Volume = L(A + the square root of (A*B) + B) divided by 3.
Trapezoidal method: This method is also used in calculating volume with contour lines. The formula is Volume = L x 1/2 (A1 + A2) cubic meter.
Why Is Volume Calculation Important for Earthwork?
Measuring the volume of the land at your next project is vital for several reasons. First, if you want to create an accurate bid for the work, you need to know what type of landscape you’re working with. Using contour lines and topographical maps to determine volume will give you an idea of the work you’ll need to do. Then you can more accurately account for labor and material costs.
On that same note, calculating volume also allows you to use your materials effectively. When you know the volume of the area, you can take the guesswork out of how much material you need for a particular project.
Contact Take-off Professionals for More Information Today
At Take-off Professionals, we use your data to create 3D topographical models. We optimize what you gather from a quantity survey to make models with contour lines to determine volume. Ensure material and budget use and accuracy with our help.
Our team is composed of full-time professionals who work on these projects as their specialty. We focus on creating dependable 3D models to use for determining the volume of the terrain for your earthwork.
You can access our online platform to view your data and models. You can even add other files or notes to keep all related materials in one place. Take-off Professionals has over 20 years of experience and works on around 1000 3D models yearly.
We offer detailed quotes that describe the exact services you’ll be getting. Our turnaround times are quick too, ensuring that you can get your work done on time. We have trained professionals on a national scale, meaning that we can help you no matter where you live. For more information about our 3D modeling services, please get in touch with us online or call 623-323-8441.
Incorporating GPS machine control into your earthmoving projects will help you in various ways. You can ensure you complete the work to the best of your ability by using machine control with 3D terrain models. Combine our services with your machines to make your business stand out for competency and dependability.
What Is GPS Machine Control?
GPS machine control involves the use of several instruments to give feedback to operators on grades and equipment positions. Some of the most common positioning sensors used to gather this information are:
Advanced GPS systems.
Creating a 3D model from predetermined positions gathered through GPS machine control increases accuracy. You can use equipment like dozers and excavators with the collected data to complete an action at exact coordinates.
Machine control technology works with the help of GPS and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Earthmoving machines receive signals from these systems and compare them to the model of the proposed plans. This process allows the equipment to determine exactly where and how to grade the terrain.
You need a base station to ensure accuracy, however. Satellites are typically off in their measurements, making them unhelpful for precise work like earthmoving. The base station corrects these errors, allowing for a more accurate reading. A base station sends the reliable reading to a rover, developing a 3D map of the area and determining its location.
Who Uses GPS Machine Control?
Workers in any industry that deals with earthmoving equipment can benefit from GPS machine control. This technique is common in the following projects:
What Are the Benefits of GPS Machine Control?
Using GPS machine control to develop 3D models provides several benefits, including:
Effective material use.
Lower operating expenses and labor costs.
Reduced surveyor expenses.
Excellent completed surfaces.
With GPS machine control, your team is more likely to do the job right the first time. Satellites that feed data to a machine take out all the standard work and make earthmoving jobs much easier than ever before.
Contact Take-off Professionals Today for 3D Modeling Services
Ensure your machines are working with an accurate 3D terrain model with the help of Take-off Professionals. Our team can optimize your data and make a map that works well for GPS machine control. You can access our platform to view the data and models and add any other files or notes.
At Take-off Professionals, we focus on creating reliable 3D models that you can use for earthmoving work. With over 20 years of experience, we how to get the job done. Our team develops around 1000 3D models every year.
We’re proud to offer detailed quotes and quick turnaround times. Our staff is available nationally with employees stationed in multiple time zones. Reap the benefits of using GPS machine control for your earthmoving projects. For more information about our 3D modeling services, please contact us online or call 623-323-8441 today.
The construction industry has suffered from a prolonged period of decline in productivity over the last few decades despite the consistent growth of the industry. Low productivity is the leading reason for going over budget or spending too much time on construction projects. Thankfully, construction businesses can improve their productivity through improved communication, planning, goal setting and technology. Learn how to increase your construction productivity with the following tips.
1. Improve Communication
Clear and consistent communication is the most crucial component of getting your construction projects finished on time. Your team should always have open lines of communication and the ability to reach each other quickly. Improve communication with the following strategies:
Create a communication chain of command: Establishing a concrete chain of command for communication allows queries to get answered as quickly as possible and ensures nobody on your team gets left behind. Create a communication chain of command that sets clear expectations for who should be contacted for each unique project you work on.
Adopt new technology: By integrating smartphones, tablets and laptops into your team, you can ensure everyone receives the information they need right as it gets sent out. New software such as cloud-based programs and scheduling software can help you use your time more efficiently and effectively.
Enforce clear and concise communications: Messages heavy on jargon and technicality can be hard to understand and rarely pass up the chain of command, making enforcing clear and concise language in your communication essential. Teach your team members to keep language short, sweet and accessible.
Keep communications professional: When writing to your team, stick to the facts and keep your communications free of emotions and office politics. If you want to simplify processes and boost construction productivity, don’t over elaborate on your points and make your objectives clear.
2. Planning Based on Data
Inaccurate planning forecasts are a source of a significant source of risk for construction companies. Intensive data gathering using the power of deep learning and artificial intelligence can identify dangers and patterns for your construction plans before they even begin. The following data and analytics tools can help you increase productivity on the job site:
Predictive analytics: With predictive analytics, you can gain insight into project workflow and solutions to give your stakeholders more accurate expectations on when a project will be finished. Predictive data analytics allow you to reduce costs on projects and tackle potential problems before they get the chance to arise.
Risk analysis: Identifying, monitoring and responding to risks as they arise is critical to keeping your team safe and your time projections more accurate. You can use field-first technology to gain deeper insight into your risk management and analysis and keep your complex jobs going strong.
Equipment and asset tracking: By tracking your equipment and assets, you’ll eliminate the chance of wasting time on your construction site by ensuring the technology you need is where it should be 24/7. Certain asset tracking software even allows you to assign equipment to specific managers and teams.
GPS machine control modeling: GPS machine control modeling allows your surveyors to employ a variety of positioning sensors – including sonic tracers, rotating laser, total stations and advanced GPS systems – to improve work site operations. Many GPS machine control models integrate with machine control technology to ensure that equipment such as graders, bulldozers and excavators all move within the predetermined positions of the 3D model.
Point cloud modeling: With point cloud modeling, contractors can use 3D models for the layout planning and machine control phase of construction. Point cloud models are renowned for their speed and accuracy.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Having a realistic goal and planning for potential delays before they begin lets you stay ahead of schedule and ensure that your plans are achievable. It’s always best to set realistic expectations with your stakeholders rather than overpromise and underdeliver. Create more realistic goals with the following:
Build goals from the bottom up: Your employees on the ground of your construction site have a much better understanding of how long a project will take than your architect. Work with your managers at every level to build your goals from the bottom up and set accurate and realistic expectations.
Use both data and intuition: While data can start your project planning on the right foot, your intuition is crucial to creating realistic goals. Instinct is more than a hunch – it’s a culmination of your experience in the field.
Revise your goals as you go: Part of every successful plan is the acknowledgment that circumstances will change as you go. While you shouldn’t be too quick to revise your goals, you must review your construction goals continually and acknowledge precisely when and where you’re falling short. Make sure you review and revise your goals on at least a monthly and quarterly basis.
4. Have the Proper Technology
With the proper technology, you can ensure nothing falls through the cracks in your construction planning and execution. You can use the following tools to improve your productivity:
Preconstruction software: Preconstruction software enables your business to get your project started on the right foot by helping you with everything from finding contractors and sending bid invites to double-checking your architectural plans.
Field productivity software: With field productivity software, you can directly measure workflow on your job site and streamline information processes with cloud-based real-time software. Field productivity software helps you unify your team.
Project management software: Project management software ensures your teams are all working off of the same plans and getting updated about project developments along the way. When your team can get a holistic view of your project development, you’ll have the data and confidence to make better decisions.
Collaborative software: Collaborative software allows you to unify your team and keep up with construction plans and designs as they change in real-time.
Increase Your Productivity With the Take-off Professionals
At Take-off Professionals, we create data prep and 3D modeling software ideal for use with site work machine layouts and controls. Since our founding in 1988, we’ve been dedicated to supporting contractors with takeoff technology. Our innovative process helps you put quality data at your fingertips and gives you the accuracy and insight you need to be confident in your project. We offer the following services to help you boost productivity on the construction site:
When civil engineers first plan to develop a property, they require land surveyors to provide accurate measurements and information about the land. As a result, land surveyors are critical to civil engineers who want to do their job properly. By working closely with land surveyors, civil engineers can increase their project’s safety, improve efficiency and ensure they comply with various standards.
Find out more about what land surveyors do and how these professionals assist civil engineering projects.
What Is a Land Surveyor?
Whenever an individual or company purchases a property to develop it, land surveyors play an essential role. Land surveyors are responsible for mapping and measuring a property’s land to establish property boundaries. They also provide information about the property’s topography and existing buildings or improvements. Surveyors can give clients precise measurements and data about a property, and they’re regularly employed for construction, engineering and mapmaking projects.
Given land surveyors’ expertise in determining topographic heights, land sizes and land measurements, they regularly advise the work of other professionals. For example, they often guide the work of geologists, developers, town planners, architects and engineers. You can even see them in governmental roles, helping sewer, power and water authorities receive the information they need to do their jobs well.
You’ll typically find land surveyors conducting measurements at the beginning of a development or construction project. They make their measurements, map the land and give this information to architects, who use it to design their projects with the landscape in mind. Land surveyors also provide their measurements to engineers, who use the data to ensure any planned structures are safe.
How Do Land Surveying and Civil Engineering Work Together?
While public works, such as public education facilities or health care institutions, are some of the most common civil engineering projects, you can also find civil engineers helping organizations build bridges, pipelines and canals. Since civil engineering often requires structures and other infrastructure to be placed on top of the environment, land surveyors play an important role.
Infrastructure needs to be safe and fit the land it’s built on, so civil engineers need accurate land surveys before they begin their work. A land surveyor provides engineers the data they need to ensure their project doesn’t negatively affect protected environments. They also give engineers the measurements and information they require to ensure any structure they build will be safe. Land surveyors can even help engineers ensure their project has peak efficiency.
To support a civil engineering project, a surveyor will look for several land qualities. For example, they’ll often note the nature of the land, such as if it’s grassy, rocky, clear, forested, flat or uneven. They’ll also collect data about the angles and distance between critical points and measure relative elevations.
Information on natural features, such as rivers and hills, are other types of data included in land surveys for civil engineers. A land surveyor will also include data on human construction, such as power lines and roads. If a civil engineering project requires a map, land surveyors can produce it.
Once a project ends, civil engineers require an as-built survey from a land surveyor. This survey is meant to determine how accurate the initial survey’s data was after the project’s completion. The land surveyor will create a new survey designed to check that the earlier measurements match various details and positions of the final project. Civil engineers require surveyors to repeatedly survey a structure to ensure it’s safe and has the appropriate technical performance.
Why Is Land Surveying Important to Civil Engineering Projects?
One of the biggest reasons civil engineering projects need land surveyors is that they provide accurate data engineers can use in their proposals. Land surveyors are also important because they can conduct inspections in high-risk areas and help resolve legal disputes. Learn more about the importance of land surveyors and some of the essential ways they aid civil engineering projects:
1. Provide Accurate Data for a Proposal
As civil engineering organizations create proposals, they need accurate data. When a civil engineering organization submits its proposal, it often needs to gain public support — whether through lawmakers voting on the project or the public directly voting for it. If a project appears dangerous, it can sink, leading the public or lawmakers to vote against it.
Accurate data helps engineers create a proposal that shows the infrastructure will be as safe as possible. For example, a land surveyor might use a 3D simulation via drone survey to show how a structure will impact the environment. If the survey reveals a new road could lead to erosion in the surrounding area or impact water flow, civil engineers can adjust their proposal to account for these potential dangers.
With accurate data in their corner, engineers can prepare more detailed proposals. These detailed proposals help lawmakers who want the project to pass, as they can more easily showcase how safe the project will be in the future and how it will change the current environment. Since safety is a huge public concern, civil engineering firms may find it difficult to get public lawmakers on board with a project until they prove it doesn’t come with high risk.
2. Conduct Inspections for High-Risk Areas and Projects
When civil engineers need to work on high-risk projects, such as bridges, they often turn to land surveyors. Surveyors usually have the equipment required to safely assess a project site without putting staff in danger. For example, a land surveyor can use a drone to assess high-risk areas that people can’t easily or safely access. Using a drone is much safer and can deliver more detailed results, as it can navigate around complex terrain or structures and gain a bird’s-eye view of a property.
Since civil engineers play a major role in creating or repairing high-risk projects, such as dams, canals and bridges, they need highly accurate data to ensure they don’t put the public in danger. If a dam breaks or a bridge crumbles, it can lead to injury and death. A land surveyor can conduct a survey before and after a project to ensure civil engineers have the necessary data to build safe structures.
3. Help Resolve Legal Disputes Between Public and Private Property
Sometimes, civil engineering projects face disputes over private and public property. A private landowner may believe the project crosses over to their property, while the civil engineering firm may believe their project only goes over public land. When there’s a dispute about property lines, land surveyors can help to resolve it. Usually, a land surveyor will conduct a boundary survey to establish whose land the civil engineering company is developing their project on.
A land surveyor will often use a drone to conduct these boundary surveys, as they can establish property lines faster. With a bird’s-eye view of the property lines and the use of other surveying technology, they can quickly find where private land stops and public land starts. A land surveyor may also use LiDAR scanning and UAV technology to ensure their surveys are as accurate as possible.
By using advanced technology to complete their boundary survey, a land surveyor can quickly resolve legal problems and stop delays from occurring. These surveys can also increase public support in the project, as people will know the civil engineering project is only using public land.
When Do You Need a Land Surveyor?
When you plan to develop a piece of land, you’ll need a land surveyor. Since you’ll need to comply with your project’s end goal, building goals and local regulations, a land survey is an essential part of development. With a land survey, you’ll gain a better understanding of the site’s topography and dimensions, giving you critical data to ensure your project doesn’t run into compliance issues.
One of the most important times to use a land surveyor is when you’re planning to change the land’s use. In this case, you might need a planning permit. Part of attaining this permit involves receiving approval from a local government, where they’ll check overlays, land zoning, municipal strategic statements and permitted land uses. A land survey is often required to ensure your project meets the aforementioned permit requirements.
Land surveys are also necessary when a project has different zoning requirements on a site. For example, a piece of land may have various overlays on it, such as protections for vegetation, wildlife or heritage. You might find that land has different local provisions, such as plot ratios and building heights. With these various zoning and land requirements, land surveys are essential. These surveys give you data about topographic heights and land that is critical for addressing zoning requirements.
Another time you’ll need a land surveyor is when you’re working on a sloped site. Since a land surveyor can use specialized equipment to measure horizontal distance, they can assist civil engineers who might not have equipment capable of making these measurements. You can also rely on surveyors to measure vertical distance. These measurements are critical when your project requires you to excavate a pipeline or build a drain or road.
Essentially, any time you need to know exactly how a project will fit on a piece of land, a land survey is needed. Whether you’re constructing a new bridge or upgrading a road, land surveys allow you to know how your planned structures will fit with the land and ensure your project won’t cause safety issues.
Benefits of Land Surveying
Many civil engineering firms and organizations rely on the benefits of land surveyors to improve their projects with the following:
Increased boundary accuracy: One of the many land surveying benefits is helping civil engineers establish accurate boundaries for a piece of land. With the right property boundaries established, a civil engineering team can better plan out construction and development. Accurate boundaries also help teams avoid legal disputes with people who own land near their project, saving time and raising public satisfaction with a project.
Greater understanding of topography: Before civil engineers begin a project on a piece of property, they need to know its topographical details. A land survey ensures engineers have a better understanding of topography, such as determining if the land has any structural or soil issues or if it is prone to flooding. By gaining a greater understanding of a plot’s topography, the civil engineering team can determine if their project is feasible and safe before they begin development.
Better property division: When a civil engineering firm makes their proposals to local authorities, they need to ensure they’re not building on private property. A land survey gives them better property division by clearly showing where public property starts and ends.
Improved construction preparation: Before a civil engineer OKs construction, a land survey can give them various data about the plot. This land survey’s data can help civil engineers ensure any structures are placed in the ideal location and that any necessary preparation has been completed prior to construction. With this data, a civil engineer can provide their construction team more accurate plans and help them better prepare for construction.
More accurate value estimation: Land surveyors can also help civil engineers and other professionals determine how much a piece of property is worth. By having a detailed land survey, you can more accurately value a property based on its landscape, hardscape and location details.
Choose Take-off Professionals for Your 3D Data Needs
At Take-off Professionals, we understand the need for accurate data from land surveyors for the success of any civil engineering project. After receiving data from surveyors, our experienced engineering team creates 3D data to assist with site work, machine control and layout. Alongside our engineers, we also employ surveyors and 3D techs to ensure any models we provide are extremely accurate and give you the information you require to ensure a project is safe and can be completed as efficiently as possible.
If you work in civil engineering, construction, archaeology or any field where understanding physical layouts is critical, you can likely use data and mapping to greatly benefit your work. Two techniques in particular, photogrammetry and remote sensing, provide a wealth of valuable data to increase precision and accuracy in planning, analysis, construction and excavation.
What Is Remote Sensing?
Remote sensing involves identifying and measuring objects or events — for instance, weather events — without contacting them directly.
Remote sensing relies on detecting different wavelengths of light radiation. Objects may emit or reflect this radiation, and remote sensing can identify and process even small differences across an extensive array of wavelengths and spatial orientations. Professionals use these differences to identify objects and categorize them according to their type, material or location. They can also use them to measure slopes and distances.
What is remote sensing used for? Satellites have used remote sensing in meteorological operations for decades. Remote sensing first came into use because of the high number of color bands in satellite imagery. The technique used those color bands to collect 2D information for weather tracking and geographic information system (GIS) mapping, for instance. Today, many satellites in orbit still use remote sensing to gather a range of information from the Earth to evaluate weather and land cover and generate maps.
Remote sensing doesn’t have to work at such great distances, however. This method is also useful for gathering data for terrestrial projects, like surveying or earthworks construction. Remote sensing encompasses any observation and measurement methods that do not rely on direct contact with the object or landform in question.
What Is Photogrammetry?
Photogrammetry uses imaging rather than collecting light wavelength data. It involves determining the spatial properties and dimensions of objects captured in photographic pictures.
Albrecht Meydenbauer, a Prussian architect who made some of the first elevation drawings and topographic maps, first used the term in 1867. Today, an airplane, satellite, drone or even a close-range camera might record digital images for photogrammetric use.
Photogrammetry relies on a technique known as aerial triangulation to measure changes in position. This method involves taking aerial photographs from more than one location and using measurements from both places to pinpoint locations and distances more accurately. The various photographs provide different lines of sight or rays from the camera to specific points. The trigonometric intersection of these lines of sight can then produce accurate 3D coordinates for those points.
Modern photogrammetry also sometimes relies on laser scanning as a complement to traditional images. Light detection and ranging (LIDAR), for instance, which uses pulsed lasers to measure distances, often assists in photogrammetry performed from aircraft and satellites, as well as on the ground.
Photogrammetry breaks down into two main branches: metric and interpretive. Here’s more information on them:
Metric photogrammetry: This branch of the field involves taking exact measurements and frequently finds use in technical industries like engineering and surveying. Metric photogrammetry uses a metric camera to make precise computations and evaluate exact sizes, shapes and positions of objects or topographical features. It is also useful for determining coordinates and relative positions.
Interpretive photogrammetry: This branch of the field involves identifying general image features like sizes, shapes and patterns. It is useful for adding ancillary information to photographs rather than making direct calculations.
What is photogrammetry used for? Photogrammetry is exceptionally common in applications such as measuring landforms and terrain and developing topographic maps. Many industries, including fields as diverse as architecture, construction, engineering, forensics, forestry, geoscience, law and medicine, rely on the precise and accurate 3D data photogrammetry provides.
Comparison of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
What are the main differences to consider regarding photogrammetry vs. remote sensing? Explore them below:
Data type: One of the main differences between photogrammetry and remote sensing lies in the kind of information collected. Remote sensing collects data in the form of light and color. By detecting different wavelengths of light radiation, it can generate maps. Instead of measuring wavelengths of radiation, on the other hand, photogrammetry uses imagery to measure coordinates in space.
Number of dimensions: These differences also mean remote sensing tends to work in two dimensions while photogrammetry tends to work in three dimensions. Remote sensing can create informative 2D maps, while photogrammetry is ideal for more complex 3D modeling.
Who Uses These Processes?
Below are a few applications that frequently use remote sensing and photogrammetry:
1. Emergency Management
In an emergency, professionals need reliable data to develop plans for stanching floodwaters or containing fires. Remote sensing can provide an accurate picture of topography and map the scale of the disaster. Photogrammetry enables teams to generate reliable 3D models for planning evacuation routes or containment approaches.
2. Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental science often uses remote sensing to gain concrete data about how ecological changes have progressed. For instance, a team might use remote sensing to map the decrease in foliage in a particular area or track the recession of glaciers or the polar ice caps.
3. Earthworks Development
Building earthworks requires detailed information about the landscape and topography. Engineers use remote sensing and photogrammetry to collect necessary data for grading the land and constructing features like roads, bridges, dams, canals, utility layouts and distribution and drainage systems. A drone can fly over a job site, for example, to capture data and turn it into a point cloud for use in planning projects.
4. Mining Monitoring and Expansion
Mining companies need reliable methods for monitoring their existing mines and scouting for new sites. Remote sensing and photogrammetry enable companies to generate maps and 3D images for these purposes.
5. Archaeological Recreation
Archaeological teams often need detailed 3D models so they can examine sites without disturbing delicate artifacts. Taking thousands of still photos and compiling them through photogrammetry enables these teams to develop highly accurate and realistic 3D models. Photogrammetry is also often indispensable for the virtual reconstruction of cultural heritage sites.
6. Forensics Analysis
At a crime scene, it’s essential to disturb the evidence as little as possible. But law enforcement personnel still need ways to examine the scene. Photogrammetry offers an ideal solution — a drone can fly overhead to take photographs and develop reliable 3D models for use in the investigation, as well as for lawyers and insurance adjusters. In countries like Colombia and Guatemala, photogrammetry has also helped detect and document clandestine graves where commercial satellite imagery was insufficient.
7. Architectural Recording
When architects or restoration specialists must survey historical buildings, remote measurement helps them ensure the structures’ continued integrity. Photogrammetry allows these teams to develop 3D maps, typically generating elevation drawings at scales of 1:20, 1:50 and 1:100, without touching or damaging the architectural features.
Work With the Experts at Take-Off Professionals for Photogrammetry Services
To see the benefits of reliable 3D imaging in your next construction project, partner with TOPS.
Why should you work with experts for photogrammetry services? When you do, you’ll gain the peace of mind that comes from working with professionals who have years of experience in the industry. Photogrammetry is a complex process, so collaborating with seasoned pros minimizes errors and increases the chances of a successful project.
Working with the experts at Take-off Professionals also means partnering with teams that specialize only in data. We don’t provide software or hardware — instead, we focus all our attention on data and modeling. You’ll get the careful attention your project deserves while knowing we have the in-depth focus to tackle even the toughest challenges. We also have dedicated engineering and surveying teams who can provide tailored guidance for civil engineering.
Contact us today to learn more about how photogrammetry can enhance your work.
A 3D model lets a civil contractor or construction professional perform machine control and layout planning before and during construction. Depth map sequencing and point cloud modeling are two examples of 3D modeling often used in construction. Although the two methods have some things in common, they ultimately have different goals and purposes. A point cloud is usually a collection of data points that form a shape, while a depth map conveys information about the distance between two objects in space.
Learn more about the differences and similarities between point cloud modeling and depth map sequencing below.
What Is Point Cloud Modeling?
Point cloud modeling produces a set of small data points, which exist in three dimensions and on X, Y and Z coordinates. The data points represent a part of a surface in a defined area, such as the area of a construction site. When arranged together, the points produce a clearly identifiable structure.
The more data points in the point cloud, the more detailed the structure and image will be. You can compare the data points that make a point cloud to the pixels that make up a digital image. The more pixels there are in an image, the clearer the picture is.
Point Cloud Modeling Methods
Two methods can produce point cloud models — photogrammetry and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), also known as remote sensing.
Photogrammetry is a relatively old process of collecting information about objects and surfaces. When photogrammetry is part of point cloud modeling, a drone takes multiple images of a work or construction site at various angles. After the drone takes the photos, the images are collected together and processed. Processing the images stitches them together, creating an overlapping picture and allowing you to build a 3D model from them.
While photogrammetry uses images to help you produce a 3D model, LiDAR uses laser beams. Typically, a device that transmits a laser is attached to an aerial vehicle. The vehicle goes up into the air, directing laser beams back to the Earth. The laser beams bounce off the Earth’s surface, returning to the vehicle.
LiDAR measures how long it takes for the laser beams to travel from the surface back to the aerial vehicle. In some ways, it is similar to echolocation, except instead of using sound waves to measure distances, LiDAR uses light beams. The information collected by LiDAR can then be transformed into a 3D model. Once the images or information is collected, the process of transforming them into a 3D model is similar for both photogrammetry and LiDAR.
Often, LiDAR collects more useful information than photogrammetry, particularly if there is dense tree cover over the area being measured and modeled. A photo can’t push through branches and leaves to give an accurate measurement to the ground below. A light beam can travel through the spaces or openings in the tree cover, allowing you to see how far below the ground is.
One drawback of LiDAR is that it can be more sensitive to weather conditions than photogrammetry. It can also have difficulty collecting accurate information when the surface is reflective.
The two methods also vary drastically regarding price. If you are on a budget, one method of capturing information for point cloud modeling might be more appropriate for you than the other.
What Is Point Cloud Modeling Used For?
Point cloud modeling has several uses in construction and engineering projects. You might need to create a point cloud for the following:
Surveying: Point cloud modeling can quickly and cost-effectively produce representations of roads, bridges and other complex structures.
Earthworks projects: Earthworks projects, such as excavating to produce a new road or lay pipe, can also benefit from the use of drones or aerial vehicles and point cloud modeling. Point cloud modeling allows your company to keep tabs on a project without visiting the site in person. It can also help improve worker safety on-site.
3D models: Point cloud modeling also allows for the construction of more accurate 3D models for a project. The data captured during point cloud modeling allows you to accurately identify and distinguish objects in the area so you can create a precise representation.
Benefits of Point Clouds
If you need to create a 3D model for an engineering or construction project, using point cloud modeling offers multiple benefits:
Accuracy: A point cloud model is an accurate representation of an object or area. Both photogrammetry and LiDAR allow you to capture enough information to produce a detailed, correct model of a particular area.
Ease of budgeting: Since the process of capturing information for point cloud modeling is so accurate, you can develop a budget for your project without too much concern about going over or spending more than you can afford. Point cloud modeling also minimizes the risk of mistakes, meaning you will spend less time and money on correcting errors. You will also save time on your project, which translates to cost savings.
Efficiency: Point cloud modeling is a much more efficient process of building a 3D model, especially when compared to the time and effort it would take to create 3D models by hand. Increased efficiency means your project gets off the ground and can be completed sooner rather than later.
What Are Depth Map Sequences?
A point cloud lets you see every data point used to create an image. A depth map gives you a view of the data points from a particular angle. Another way to look at a depth map is as a 2D image that has been manipulated to look like a 3D image. A depth map has information on the distance between objects in a picture. It’s often shown in grayscale.
After the creation of a depth map sequence, the grayscale image is usually merged with the initial photo. Combining the two creates a third picture that looks 3D.
How to Create a Depth Map Sequence
To create a depth map, you start with a 2D image. Since the goal is to turn a 2D image into a 3D one, the source image must have several layers. Ideally, the starting photo will have a background, middle ground and foreground. To produce the depth map, you’ll need a photo and an image-editing program, such as Photoshop.
Start by selecting areas of the foreground, using the magic wand or another selection tool to trace them. After tracing each section, create a layer. Once you’ve selected and created the layers for the foreground, select the part of the image that makes up the middle ground. After that, select the section of the photo that will be the background.
After selecting and creating the layers for your 3D image, grayscale each layer. The layers in the background should be a darker gray than the foreground layers, which should be the lightest gray. You might find it easier to work if you grayscale the image before you begin cutting out the layers.
Once you’ve produced the grayscale image, you’ll merge it with the original picture in the photo editing tool. The overlap of the two images produces a photo that looks 3D.
What Are Depth Maps Used For?
One use of a depth map sequence is to create 3D advertising images. Another use is for producing 3D models for engineering and construction projects. Compared to a flat image, a depth map lets you see what is around or behind objects in a picture, providing you with a more accurate presentation of the area.
Point Cloud Modeling vs. Depth Map Sequences: Similarities and Differences
The primary feature that point cloud modeling and depth map sequences share is both use images to transform data into 3D models. The two methods give you a way to view information.
One of the differences between depth maps and point cloud modeling is the image’s viewpoint. A point cloud lets you see every point. A depth map only gives you a view of the points visible from a particular angle.
Another way to look at the differences between a depth map and a point cloud is to consider the image’s dimensions. Cartesian coordinates include an X-axis and Y-axis, which intersect each other perpendicularly. X and Y axes are all that is needed for 2D images.
When an image is 3D, there’s also a Z-axis, which intersects the X and Y axes and runs vertically. X and Y are horizontal. With a point cloud, you can see the image from all three axes. In contrast, a depth map only gives you the information found on the Z-axis.
Work With a Data Modeling Expert
Your project’s success depends on what you do with your data. The team of experienced engineers at Take-off Professionals (TOPS) can transform your data into a working 3D model. All you need to do is send us your plans and the CAD files and we’ll take care of the rest. To learn more about our services and the benefits of working with data modeling experts, get in touch with us today.