Geo Week News

May 25, 2011

The 3D view from Japan


KAWASAKI, Japan – With a few days to sift through some materials collected at SPAR Japan, the team here at SPAR 3D continues to be convinced the Japanese market represents impressive growth potential for 3D laser scanning and data capture, and that innovation is definitely happening on these shores. 

For instance, Junji Shiraishi, at the event representing ESRI, spoke about ESRI’s desires to integrate BIM with GIS data, as they need accurate building information in order to perform other complex calculations. Monitoring airflow through a city, to help first responders in the case of a radiation or poison gas release, for example, or to track fire and smoke during a forest fire near a populated area. (Look for more coverage of this application soon.)

Or at Toshiba, where the scanning team has developed internal software methods of registering scans without needing to place targets, and still get acceptable accuracy. How are they doing it? They don’t currently have plans to commercialize the methods, but they will say it allows them to pull together 80+ scans in a day. This obviously has the potential to increase productivity immensely. 

Speaking of Toshiba, SPAR managing director Tom Greaves had an opportunity to speak with Toshiba’s Akihiro Iwata about both his experiences on March 11, when the entire country shook, and about his company’s scanning efforts. Iwata-san is very frank: “I thought I was going to die.” It is certainly true that this trip to Japan drove home the very real impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the people of Japan. 

This market has also very much begun to embrace mobile scanning. Make sure you see Tom Greaves’ blog about efforts to map the damage in the Sendai area. 

Finally, don’t discount the market for historic preservation in Japan. With a country possessing such a rich and storied history, opportunity for preserving it is large. In the presentations at SPAR Japan, there were a number of impressive fly throughs as part of historic preservation case studies, and it’s clear extensive work is being done in this area. 

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