Geo Week News

December 15, 2010

Inaugural SPAR Europe features education, technology

2010 SPAR Eu Crowd Shot

Crowd of 325 gathers in Amsterdam to talk scanning, software, 3D imaging, and more

AMSTERDAM—SPAR Europe/Plant‐Tech, the new conference focused on 3D imaging for design, construction, manufacturing and security planning, launched by the SPAR 3D, concluded last week after two days here at the RAI Convention Center. With approximately 325 registered attendees, the event was marked by serious discussion of the challenges and opportunities presented by 3D imaging technology. Hardware manufacturers showcased laser scanners and cameras; software makers focused on better utilizing pointclouds and innovative photogrammetry; service providers emphasized best practices and return on investment; and an assorted collection of speakers from all over the globe presented use cases and all manner of creative thinking. 

SPAR founder Tom Greaves opened the conference with an address that focused on on using 3D laser scanning to minimize risk and create efficiencies in markets as diverse as design, construction, architectural preservation, manufacturing and security. “Although we operate in many diverse markets, we share a common theme,” said Greaves. “How well we capture, process and integrate 3D information has a significant impact on our prosperity, security and safety, and the richness of our culture.”

In a bit of levity, Greaves showed a clip from the iconic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder version), whereby a special machine tells the good eggs from the bad eggs. There is no magical egg sorter, Greaves noted, but the proper use of 3D imaging can certainly help professionals in many walks of life to sort out the bad eggs. 

Greaves was followed by keynoters Mustapha Yahia and Gérard Borello of Sofresid Engineering (Yahia did most of the talking), who demonstrated the savings created in plant design by effective use of laser scanning; Erik Siemer of M3MD, who outlined the business case for mobile scanning (see related article, here); Arnout Ruifrok of Netherlands Forensic Institute, who discussed the continuing challenges of using 3D imagery for facial recognition biometrics; and Masaaki Kamei of Toshiba, who outlined the necessity of embracing ISO 15926 in power plant design.

These keynote presenters laid the foundation for a rigorous two days of presentations that ran the gamut from using laser scanning to determine the wave heights needed to move massive boulders to how 3D imagery would help the CSI the Hague advanced forensics project to a discussion of the latest technologies that would impact the market in coming years. 

The most common points of discussion were not necessarily new to the 3D imaging marketplace. How, attendees wondered, can the time in the back office processing scan data be ameliorated? When, they asked, is the right time to buy a scanner? Why, they wondered, is photogrammetry sometimes a better solution than laser scanning? Whom, they inquired, should they turn to for laser scanning services?

Many of these questions are just beginning to be answered definitively, but it was clear that SPAR Europe/Plant-Tech provided a forum for their open discussion, and that attendees were eager to engage. 

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