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What are one thousand pictures worth?

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3d model generated from photogrammetry software
Common practice is to process many photographs into summaries in the form of point clouds or orthophotos. But the original photos themselves are the purest and most detailed available representation of the scene. How can we use them?

It is a technological marvel that we can take one thousand pictures and process them into a 3D model or one big orthophoto. These representations enable an overall sense of the project and linear and volumetric measurements, which is not possible from individual photographs. Most capture and processing services spit out one or more of these synthesized models, leaving the original photos as husks to be discarded. But have you ever considered how much valuable information is left behind?

Many services focus on processing photos into 3D point clouds (top / left) and orthophotos that provide measurement abilities and project-level context. But the original photos (bottom-right) can tell us so much more. Reconstruct's platform makes finding and viewing the most relevant photos easy, unlocking their full value.

Processing algorithms make many assumptions (e.g., surfaces are non-reflective, causing problems with water and windows) and simplifications in the quest to produce a consistent and consumable 3D model. In consequence, the models simply cannot match the reliability and glorious detail of the original photographs (see above). Each image provides a high-resolution slice of the light entering a single point from a range of angles at a particular time, and even the most sophisticated algorithms can only filter, reorganize, and remove information. A model may contain 20 million points, versus 20 billion perfect pixels from the original photos. On the other hand, it's tedious if not impossible to find the right photo to highlight a safety or quality issue by searching through a folder on your computer.

Reconstruct gives the best of both worlds. Optimized for capture of vertical structures, we generate the standard 3D models and surface models, but we also do something unique. We provide an online platform for interacting with both models and photos. The 3D model provides a context to find the most informative image, based on viewpoint or a clicked point (see below).

Reconstruct offers three ways to find the most relevant photo: First, click on a camera frustrum (the little gray boxes shown in top photo). Second, click on best view or the arrows (see bottom-right of top image) to find a photo relative to current viewpoint. Third and most powerful, click on any point in the scene to find the best view of that point (bottom image). Once selected, the full resolution photo can be inspected while maintaining context from the surrounding scene.

Photos are the best way to perform visual quality control in construction, bring attention to safety issues, or illustrate the details of plan revisions. To provide time and project context, Reconstruct aligns photos and point clouds with those from the past using the image textures as ground control points. This strategy enables greater precision alignment than using GPS or manually-defined GCPs, without requiring them or any other annotation. Our viewer also aligns photos and point clouds with any available BIM, as shown below, making the entire as-built and as-planned status of the project accessible through any internet-connected device.

Reconstruct overlays point clouds and images with color-coded BIM to compare progress and plans and show trade locations, planned work, and state of progress in a visual context.

Photographs should play a key role in project planning, coordination, and quality control in construction. Reconstruct makes that possible, providing tools to understand what's been done, how it corresponds to plans, and where coordination efforts should be focused, as well as to visually communicate critical project data to the entire team. So while there may not be enough words to describe the worth of one thousand photos, you can be sure that more of their value can be unlocked with Reconstruct.

Getting Started with Reconstruct

Want to learn how Reconstruct can help your project? Visit www.reconstructinc.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members.