Geo Week News

September 23, 2011

ClearEdge3D lands National Science Foundation grant

Will fund further research into automated feature extraction research in terrestrial, mobile arenas

HERNDON, Va. – ClearEdge3D announced this week it has won a research grant from the National Science Foundation to further develop its technology in the field of automated feature extraction from 3D laser scan data. The grant will be used by ClearEdge to enhance its automated feature extraction algorithms with the goal of modeling entire facilities and whole city blocks in minutes, according to a press release.

“It’s just a hugely prestigious grant that we’re really excited about,” said Chris Scotton, ClearEdge president and CEO, in an interview with Spar Point Group. “They’re basically just paying us to further our research into automated feature extraction, specifically in the mobile arena.”

The company’s software, EdgeWise, has been designed to automate the extraction of CAD pipe and building geometry from 3D laser scanned data, reducing time to create accurate as-built 3D models. However, according to company materials, “due to the ‘line of sight’ limitations in laser scanning technology, there are always occluded regions of point cloud data that must be manually modeled. The core goal of the research grant is to devise algorithms that will automatically populate these occluded regions based on the feature pattern in the surrounding area.”

In a demonstration of the company’s latest software, EdgeWise Plant 2.0, for this reporter, ClearEdge VP Tim Lowery noted that the pipes he was currently connecting manually, showing the software that the pipes did, indeed, connect despite the occlusion, could eventually connect automatically. “There are so many connection points to process this,” he said, “but later this year, as we get the funding, this straight pipe connection might be completely automatic.”

The National Science Foundation is a $6.8 billion U.S. government agency that supports research and education in all the fields of science and engineering. ClearEdge noted that past NSF grant winners include “a little-known Internet search engine called BackRub, which was later renamed Google. Google founder Sergey Brin, credits NSF with providing him with the early funding that made his vision a reality.”

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