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Spar 3D Expo & Conference and AEC Next Technology Expo + Conference 2019: New technologies for the application of 3D technology in the construction industry
Marcelo Rodacki
Owner at WRodacki

The accelerated development of new technologies in all areas of knowledge is remarkable. Smart virtual assistants, autonomous cars, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence and quantum computing are examples of reality that until recently were works of science fiction.


This broadly expanding development has generated an increasing offer of technological solutions, including in the construction industry. Being on top of the main trends and news in the sector is essential to keep up with the market and remain competitive.


In order to gather and disseminate the news of the area, the events Spar3D Expo & Conference, focused on 3D technologies, and AEC Next Technology Expo + Conference, focusing on the civil construction market, take place annually and in parallel. For nearly two decades, SPAR 3D has been the leading international event for the application of 3D technology in the industry. In this year's edition, approximately 1,900 professionals from 33 countries met for three days. There were more than 80 conference sessions and 118 exhibitors presenting the most modern in the world of 3D technology.


Most of the solutions presented revolve around capturing reality through the 3D laser scanner. The land based equipment, which offers the highest levels of precision, remains present in ever smaller, lighter versions with greater reach and quality. The highlight this year is the Topcon GTL-1000, a compact scanner integrated into a total station that can be operated by just one person.


Complementary to the fixed scanner, the mobile scanner has been appearing in numerous versions that aim to serve different markets, each with its specificity. NavVis M6 is a scanner on wheels based on the LIDAR system, which when driven by an operator scans environments in motion generating a cloud of points. GeoSLAM proposes even more versatile solutions such as mobile scanners of just over 1 kg that do not need a base. Based on the simultaneous mapping and SLAM mapping system combined with LIDAR, the operator himself carries the equipment in his hand, allowing access in narrow locations.


Seeking to offer a more economical solution to an audience that does not need the precision offered by laser scanners, we find the use of photogrammetry in capturing reality and generating point clouds. Matterport offers a product that scans environments using photographs and infrared. The recording of the scenes and generation of the cloud are done on its own online platform. Another solution is the use of Pix4D software that allows the generation of point clouds from different video and photo formats, both by conventional cameras and by drones.


RPAs, popularly known as drones, are another line of reality capture products that have been spreading rapidly. The capture of data with RPA can take place either through photographic cameras or with the use of laser scanners. Phoenix LIDAR Systems offers a combined fixed-wing and multi-engine RPA solution on the same aircraft through the TerraHawk line. Data collection uses the LIDAR system with the possibility of combining it with high-resolution photographs, depending on the model.


The construction industry will have a major impact in the coming years with increasingly accessible and versatile technologies. Not only should the quality of services increase, but also safety on the construction site, the reduction of rework, material and financial waste, and the reduction of time spent on activities with no added value.

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