Geo Week News

November 3, 2015

Bentley's ContextCapture Enables Easy 3D Modeling from Photographs

Greg Bentley



During Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure conference held in London, England, the company announced the general release of its new ContextCapture software. This is the first Bentley product to include Acute3D’s photogrammetry technology, which the company acquired earlier in the year.

Bentley explains that “the software is ideally suited for any organization that could apply 3D models of real-world context to benefit infrastructure design, construction, or operations.”

ContextCapture creates 3D models using photos taken by any digital camera, from high-definition aerial rigs to iPhones and UAV-mounted cameras. The resulting 3D model is called a reality mesh and includes “photorealistic detail, sharp edges, and precise geometric accuracy.”

Bentley emphasizes that these models can be created at much less cost than with traditional methods, that they be any size up to the scale of the city, and can be “created much more quickly than with other technologies.”

Notably, the company also announced the availability of ContextCapture Center. This software adds “grid computing” capabilities when generating very large models, which Bently identifies as including more than 30 gigapixels of imagery. These “grid computing” capabilities distribute the computing load over a number of computers, enabling faster processing faster than a single computer could perform.

Bentley has also added new features to the photogrammetry software, including support within Bentley’s MicroStation CONNECT Edition, and cross-platform viewers that enable sharing of models on desktop and mobile devices. Perhaps the most anticipated addition is functionality for level-of-detail generation, adaptive tiling, and tools for easy surface and volume measurement.

In a prepared statement Pascal Martinez, Bentley Systems director of business development, said that ContextCapture “offers a new and versatile way of capturing reality to serve as context for design, monitoring, inspection, and surveying processes, complementing Bentley Pointools and Bentley Descartes.”

AEROmetrex technical director David Byrne explained, “with ContextCapture, we’re able to automatically construct highly detailed 3D models of virtually any size for our clients, faster and at much less cost than with traditional methods. But what’s most powerful is the amazing context that it provides to facilitate better decisions throughout design, construction, and operations.”

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