In early 2017, we wrote about an ambitious project to create a flexible, detailed, and open 3D model of Helsinki. In June of this year, Finnish company Umbra announced that it was partnering with Helsinki to create a textured photogrammetric mesh of the city, and even stream the model in real-time to browsers, mobile devices, and AR and VR headsets around the world using its own enterprise Composit platform.
Why write about this now? Umbra has just announced an upgrade to the Composit platform that will further automate the optimization of 3D data—even huge sets—and enable users to store super-high resolution data on the cloud and stream it to connected AR, VR, and even mobile devices. The update should appeal to enterprise users, but also serves a much more ambitious purpose: Umbra wants to enable an open, crowd-sourced, super-high resolution 3D model of the entire planet.
What kind of resolution are we talking about?
Umbra told SPAR3D this update to the Composit platform allows users to share and stream data at a resolution 1,000 times higher than other existing 3D data platform. That’s enough so that users could see “every blade of grass and every grain of sand in perfect detail,” the company says.
That claim may seem incredible in the most literal sense of the word, but Umbra has a strong pedigree to lean on. The company has developed its 3D technology over 15 years while working with top-tier video game studios such as the creators of Fallout, Call of Duty, and The Witcher. They have also spent a number of years working with large AEC firms to develop the Composit platform, which means the company has shown the technology to be effective for processing 3D data sets dozens of terabytes large, and delivering them to mobile devices, headsets, and the Unity Game Engine “in photo-realistic resolutions” and at video-game frame rates. Of course, if you’re curious, the data should speak for itself.
If you ever use photogrammetric models alongside your design models, the value of such a platform should be clear. Umbra says the super high res 3D data stored on their service integrates neatly with architectural and BIM models. That means you can generate extremely realistic visualizations of potential and ongoing building projects.