The first Capturing Reality Forum held in Salzburg, Austria from 23-25 November 2015, has been hailed a great success by its audience of international delegates and visitors; with its focus on the use of laser scanning, 3D imaging and LiDAR to support infrastructure development, BIM, transport, urban and coastal zone mapping, asset management, 3D visualisation and GIS applications.
Event Director, Versha Carter, summarises: “We are delighted by the success of this first Capturing Reality Forum. Building on industry feedback from our previous well-established ELMF and SPAR Europe events on the gradual merging of the various technology streams, we have carefully taken the key elements and combined these into an event which is focused on addressing the needs of both audiences; to enable them to manage their business more easily, reduce risk, save cost and increase efficiency. Our speakers came from across the world and delivered outstanding papers to make it an unmissable future event.”
Comments included: Paul Burrows, EMEA Business Manager HDS for Leica Geosystems, who tweeted “Had a great few days at [Capturing Reality] with Leica Geosystems – met loads of customers and partners. Great presentations and good discussions.” Kaye Hope, COO of ShareMy3D, tweeted “Had a great time meeting some amazing 3D businesses in Austria this week! And a very well organised event!” and Will Tompkinson of Insightful Dimensions tweeted “If you work in LiDAR and didn’t make it to Salzburg, you missed out!”
Held at the Salzburg Congress, over 400 delegates from 35 countries gathered to hear 46 stimulating and informative presentations delivered by the world’s leading experts. Delegates also visited the accompanying exhibition of more than 40 of the world’s leading hardware/software manufacturers and service providers, and a series of live demonstrations and technical workshops provided a very busy and informative three day schedule.
Welcoming delegates to the conference, Chairman Alastair MacDonald of TMS International noted that the 3D, laser scanning and LiDAR industry, in common with the wider economies of Europe, is experiencing a challenging time. However, the fast growing demand for 3D imaging and laser scan data to support infrastructure and asset mapping projects is being driven by new technologies and applications which are able to deliver faster, better and cheaper options to a wider community of end users.
The conference opened with a thought-provoking keynote from Professor Luc van Gool, founder and head of the independent institute, Computer Vision Laboratory (BIWI) at ETH in Switzerland. Professor van Gool is internationally recognised for his work in computer vision and 3D object recognition and classification, and turning images into 3D models. He outlined the technique of using images as the main input data for mobile mapping, and showed how these, through use of recognition software, can aid 3D information extraction and assist in the extraction of semantic parts in street scenes (like the semantic components of buildings).
The commercial workshops for training and career development were in high demand delivering rewarding updates on a wide range of specialist topics. Two presentations were of particular note: The UK’s Arithmetica showed how automating the laser scan to data modelling workflow process is rapidly becoming industry standard. Leica demonstrated developments in successfully bringing volume data capture to the new BIM generation. Microsoft Vexcel Imaging showed just how far 3D reality capture has developed in the last two years.
The Capturing Reality Forum 2015 – Summary of key presentations
The technical conference was thriving with 46 stimulating and informative papers. Topics were wide ranging and included first announcements of cutting edge new sensors such as US defence specialist, Harris Corporation’s, new geiger-mode scanner for delivering high density, high volume airborne 3D imaging. Carbomap demonstrated the use of multispectral sensors for forest mapping for efficient management of resources, and UK’s ARUP showed how web based solutions can ensure that data, whether to view Point Clouds, 360 imagery, or 2D and 3D geometry, is visible regardless of training or software requirements and has huge benefits to projects and industry. With the latest data acquisition technologies delivering enormous data volumes, a paper from the Netherlands EScience Center showed how new and efficient data management systems for geo-spatial data analysis with special emphasis on LiDAR point cloud data.
Capitalising on point cloud data was a theme picked up by LAStools’ Martin Isenberg, the internationally known expert in data compression, who demonstrated new algorithm capabilities using all relevant LiDAR returns to overcome some of the drawbacks in typical DSM and CHM generation techniques. The increasing use of laser scanning and 3D imaging for BIM to capture reality for the construction and engineering sectors was addressed by Andy Evans of Topcon which showed how the application of mass data collection tools can work efficiently with seamless workflows in a field-to-office-to-field situation and back again.
Resolution and accuracy remain key issues as data processing techniques become ever more refined. Austrian-based Riegl, scanning technology global leaders, presented on how their new VZ techniques and laser scanning instrument are delivering new levels of productivity in terrestrial scanning applications. Leica’s new TWE algorithms and capabilities in mapping shallow depth, but turbid water, in the coastal zone showed how fast their technology is enabling survey projects performance to be improved.
An unusual and novel application of effectively using laser scanning on demolition projects was presented by Alexandra Grounds, from the UK, who showed how safety and the chance of successful results can be enhanced by laser scanning as a data capture tool.
The papers on recent projects were truly diverse: ArcTron reported on a total scan of Vianden castle in Luxemburg using the RiCopter-UAV aerial platform with airborne scanner in combination with terrestrial Scanners to produce complete 3D photorealistic as-built documentation. The BIMTAS paper on the use of 3D to map the underground metro in Istanbul was among the well received papers from the railway sector. The final paper of the conference delivered by Konrad Wenzel of German company nFrames, specialists in retrieving 3D surfaces from dense surface imagery, summarised many key aspects of the whole conference programme by demonstrating new techniques for capturing large scale photogrammetric 3D data meshes of cities.