Surveyors use laser scanning systems to collect information from landscapes, buildings, and objects. Using point cloud processing software, organizations can transform point cloud data into digital 3D models. With these realistic and detailed models, surveying teams can explore surveyed areas in the safety of the digital world, and analyze structures and topographical features from all angles.
But LiDAR technology and point cloud data are also starting to be used for more than just surveying projects. While 3D CAD models are usually used for design work or to create visual maps, they can also be used in augmented reality, allowing users to interact with and manipulate the digital model.
The ability to interact with digital models has inspired many organizations to use point cloud data to create immersive environments and experiences. Here’s what you need to know about point cloud data and its growing role in augmented and virtual reality.
Why Point Clouds and Virtual Reality Go Hand-In-Hand
Many companies are already using point cloud data to enable interaction with digital models. For example, TopoDOT users can move digital vehicles through point cloud models to test road layouts and identify collision risks.
But many organizations are looking to take it one step further and use point clouds to create virtual reality. Virtual reality programs aim to develop interactive and immersive digital worlds that feel as similar to reality as possible. Using point clouds, developers can create an accurate digital version of the real world that can be viewed from all angles — the potential is already there for an immersive experience. Digital models and maps just need to be paired with virtual reality goggles, and users can explore surveyed areas as if they were really there.
Applications of Point Cloud Virtual and Augmented Reality
The virtual and augmented reality created using point clouds can have a range of useful applications in a variety of industries, from entertainment, to transport, to construction. Here are some of the ways point cloud data is already used with virtual or augmented reality.
Creating Realistic, Interactive Digital Worlds for Gaming
Point cloud virtual reality can create an exact digital replica of the real world, providing gamers with the most realistic playing field possible. Realistic gaming worlds feel more immersive and, as a result, can be much more exciting. Virtual reality games created using point cloud data can satiate gamers’ desires to travel, help them face their fears, and live out fantasies in the safety of the game world.
Planning and Simulating Construction and Urban Projects Safely
Point cloud augmented reality can help plan construction works before beginning work in the real world. By simulating the construction of buildings or infrastructure, teams can identify potential structural and safety problems and trial layouts of buildings or transport corridors.
Detailed planning can occur without spending any money on materials and compromising the safety of construction teams. Planning projects using augmented reality also help teams calculate project costs and timelines.
Trialing Architectural Designs
Point cloud data collected on buildings can be augmented by inserting/referencing them into the design program/process. Architects can then create 3D virtual designs for customers, offering them the chance to view proposed designs before going ahead. It’s also possible for these same architects to use augmented reality to place their designs into digital versions of real-world environments, giving designs a sense of scale.
For those renovating their home or commercial property, this streamlines the project timeline. Customers can check for errors and ensure they are happy with the appearance of designs before any work begins.