Document Your Construction Site Like it’s 2017!
Say Goodbye to Tons of Photos, and Hello to Virtual Reality Capturing
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a ton of apps on your phone, but still you’re always using the same four or five. I already found apps on mine that I couldn’t even remember downloading. Many of those apps had promised to make my life better and easier which, in fact, they didn’t.
But we want our lives to be easy. So when we saw how construction companies used to record the state of their construction sites, we knew that there was certainly room for improvement. Capturing construction sites required a lot of pictures, and even then not every corner of a room could be captured. But times have changed: Virtual Reality Capturing allows you to quickly digitize your construction site, and makes this thorough documentation easily accessible. You can even navigate easily through the different development periods. What does it bring to you?
You can now capture your entire construction site in 360°
When reliable and affordable 360° cameras hit the market, it became easier than ever to capture your surroundings with the tap of one single button. And the advantages are obvious: Where you used to take at least ten photos and hope that you got every detail around you (which you likely didn’t), you now only need to take one single 360° photograph. That already reduces the number of photos you need to roughly 1/10th compared to the old, boring, non-360° photos!
The great thing about these new cameras is that basically anyone can use them. Yes, it has been possible to take 360° photos with your out-of-the-box DSLR camera for quite some time now. But 15 minutes long YouTube-tutorials don’t really give the impression this is a quick and easy process. Dedicated 360° cameras, like the Ricoh Theta S or the LG 360, are small, portable, and easy to use. And because they require no bulky equipment or lengthy set-up, it’s actually possible to do capturing tours of your construction site on a regular basis — which is great for progress documentation. Using our Job Walk App for Android and iOS makes said capturing even simpler and faster, as it automatically links the 360° pictures to their locations on a floor plan.
But what to do with all the nice 360° shots you just took? You probably could store them in folders on your hard drive. Folders have been around for quite some time now, so they can’t be that bad, can they? Well, while they are great at organizing your Word files, they are not the best way to virtually walk over a construction site.
Store, share and explore your documentation in style
Instead of using abstract, huge, and not very clear folder structures, Virtual Reality Capturing tools like HoloBuilder allow you to interlink spherical images to virtual projects. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. Todd Wynne from Rogers-O’Brien Construction explains it spot-on:
“It’s like Google Street View for the jobsite!”
The great thing about Virtual Reality tours is that you can easily orient yourself on the virtual job site: you understand both where you are and what you’re going to see next. The documentation is no longer a bunch of detached pictures — it is a virtual construction site. You can even manage your whole site in one single virtual project if your tool supports multiple sheets. This results in one virtual project per real construction project — it’s hardly getting more clearly structured than that.
Not only the current state of your site is neatly organized: You can also see the progress it went through over time. Instead of saving photos from different days in different folders, you store the photos captured over time in their according virtual rooms. If you want to see what a specific room looked like two weeks ago, you don’t have to scan through all your folders — you go to the room you’re interested in and open the old 360° photograph. The past is just two clicks away from the present!
Virtual Reality Capturing tools pose a great improvement to the documentation progress of a construction site. The technology is so easy that even untrained interns can document the site. And it helps you to save a lot of money: Not only because you don’t need to hire an expert photographer who runs around the premises every other week, but also because mistakes during the building process are found much easier and faster — especially if your tool supports annotating the photospheres, it’s easy to communicate where something should be fixed on-site.
With our latest update, HoloBuilder supports multiple sheets per project and allows you to travel back in time and track the progress of your construction site — as long as you’ve taken the 360° photos of that. (Once the job negotiations with Doc Brown are finished, we’ll let you know.) You can also explore the site with Virtual Reality-glasses, making orientation even easier while walking over your virtual site. All this makes HoloBuilder a powerful documentation tool for the entire lifecycle of a building. To quote Italo Cruz, Construction Technology Specialist at Rogers-O’Brien Construction:
“HoloBuilder is basically like having x-ray vision for your building. As we close up the building, we are still able to go back and see everything as it was originally installed.”
That sounds a lot better than folders, doesn’t it?
Our goal at HoloBuilder is to make thorough documentation of construction sites easy, effortless and accessible — and we think that Virtual Reality Capturing is definitely the way to go there. We’re looking forward to walk down this road together with you!
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