Geo Week News

August 22, 2012

3D scanning: Let the hype begin!

Are you concerned that the capabilities of 3D laser scanning are being over-touted? Do you worry that people expect too much of 3D data capture and are bound to be disappointed with deliverables? Well, you might be right in line with the folks at Gartner, the IT-focused research and consulting firm. They added 3D scanning to their famous (some would say infamous) Hype Cycle chart this year, and why this matters is the subject of this week’s SPARVlog.

Take a look:

Supporting material:

• Print-on-demand firm Shapeways has a reaction to seeing 3D printing at the top of the graph that you probably should take a look at.

• Here is the full press release from Gartner on this year’s chart.


Some things I didn’t have time to note in the video:

• Augmented reality was just cresting the peak of expectations last year, and this year Gartner have it just about to spiral toward the trough of disillusionment. Hasn’t augmented reality already crashed and burned once before? Aren’t people more open-eyed about it now? Or is that just for virtual reality?

• Mobile robots were just starting to climb last year, marked as 10 years or more from realization. They haven’t moved at all this year. Lidar and robots are pretty inextricably linked in my mind, so this is something to watch.

• Gesture Recognition was just leaving the expectations peak last year, and this year Gartner have renamed it “Gesture Control” and declared it well on its way to the trough. Along with Cloud Computing, by the way. Is anyone really disillusioned by cloud computing? I’d say it’s still being hyped virtually relentlessly. Heck, MAPPS/ASPRS is doing a full conference on “the revolution and evolution of cloud computing and other emerging new technologies impacting the practice of geospatial professionals,” happening October 29 through November 1 in Tampa, Florida. Perhaps Gartner feels that lack of universal broadband, or broadband simply not being fast enough, with lead toward disillusionment.

• Also new this year is HTML 5, which is pretty vital to the display of 3D models online. It would be great if HTML 5 just skipped right along to the plateau of productivity, as it will pull 3D along with it.

• Finally, back in 2010, 3D flat panel displays were at the top of the hype cycle – now they’re nowhere to be found. Have they become irrelevant again? Mainstream? Old hat? I can’t believe Gartner has deemed them obsolete…

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