BIM-Ready 3D Models From Point Clouds to Improve BRICS' Construction & Management

Scientists from Russia, China and India are developing software to convert 3D laser scanner point clouds into BIM-ready 3D models. The project won the BRICS STI Framework Programme contest, a competition among the BRICS countries in the field of science, technology, and innovation.

The BRICS STI Framework Programme aims to support excellent research on priority areas which can best be addressed by a multinational approach. The initiative should facilitate cooperation among the researchers and institutions in the consortia, which consists of partners from at least three of the BRICS countries.

Specialists from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, the Russian Academic Excellence initiative university, East China Normal University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, are developing software to analyze 3D images of infrastructure facilities, prepare cross sections and etc. Data are gathered using laser scanning technology and photography. The software will be useful at all stages of the facilities' life cycle, including finding defects and identifying non-compliance of constructions with project design, as well as for computer engineering before making repairs.

Laser scanner point cloud data allows engineers to visually analyze the building site in 3D without visiting it. Master the workflow for converting 3D laser scanner point clouds and photos into Building Information Modeling (BIM) —ready 3D models, it helps build an effective and reliable workflow, captures large urban areas, and supports planning and design needs of the housing sector which is at a tipping point and will be the economy’s next big growth driver.

This winner of the competition of the BRICS countries in the field of science, technology, and innovation (BRICS STI Framework Programme winner) will give a tailwind and additional support to expanding affordable housing in Asia’s third-largest economy.

With laser scanner point cloud data, engineers now have a way to visually assess a building site in 3D without going there in person. It's the perfect reference for viewing the state of the building site, and it's also a great tool for checking if the project has been completed according to the plan. But it really starts to shine when it gets converted into data-rich geometry and BIM tools, like the new software Russian, Chinese and Indian researchers from these counties' leading universities are set to develop.

Such technological advancements, jointly developed by Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University, Indian Institute of Technology Roorke and East China Normal University may increase the pace and potential of the sector, and act as a growth catalyst. Among its many positive influences, a new construction technology and the entry of educated international infrastructure players is enhancing and strengthening the skilled workforce, across a vast array of different skill sets.

"By working with Indian and Chinese colleagues, we are developing software which will enable us to obtain information on the qualities of materials and texture of objects and their changes by analyzing laser scanner point clouds. Our developments may also be used to monitor and repair road infrastructure, as well as to preserve historic and cultural heritage sites," says Vladimir Badenko, professor of the Institute of Civil Engineering, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU).

The international team of scientists is developing tools for processing "raw" laser scanning data. At the first stage, the information on an object is converted into point clouds of the required density. To visualize them, specialists prepare projections combined with photography, which significantly improves the segmentation of an image. Using these projections to model facilities, it makes it possible to successfully display all 3D-data on a plane (monitor). Therefore, the quality and speed of processing improve. Furthermore, it allows a more flexible setting of the scale, and as precise an image as possible can be obtained without "shadows".

It should be noted that a considerable amount of data is processed using the facilities of the Supercomputer Center "Polytechnic" at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.