Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LIDAR Data in BIM Projects

LIDAR is the use of light instead of radio waves for radar applications. I’ve always just thought of it as “Laser-Radar” but some claim it stands for Light Detection and Ranging. LIDAR technology is quickly being developed for architectural applications. The big leap for the technology was reducing the difficulties of getting the spacial data into the model. BIM software is complex enough and architectural and engineering firms shouldn’t be fighting to post-process the spacial data when there is so much design and building to be done. They just want it there in the model to work with. REVIT’s point cloud system – while being far from simple – can be used with just a few clicks. The linked article highlights two main benefits of using LIDAR data in BIM design projects in the context of a UK-based renovation in a conservation area:

Firstly, old surveying techniques actually produce quite spare data sets when compared to the resolution of LIDAR scans. This increased resolution drives higher accuracy when responding to site conditions and constraints during the design process. A second benefit recognized in the article is the ability with the LIDAR data to align background images of the site within the model accurately for interior or exterior perspectives . I’m less enthused about this one; but only because digital renderings are not my passion. On the other hand, I’m always welcoming of ideas that can be applied to streamline BIM workflows. And here there is evidence BIM has slowly lowered the bar for digital  renderings: the alignment of site images with renderings, once a highly technical affair, is now automatic.

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