I Think 3D Therefore I am

When it comes to sustaining the world’s infrastructure, where would we be without software? Where would we be without hardware vendors? What would have happened to infrastructure if we didn’t have digitization and progress through computers? I’m not trying to be entirely philosophical, and it is hardly cogito ergo sum but it is an interesting thought. World population in 1950 was 2,556 billion and by 2050 it is set to be 9,346 billion. World population only reached 1 billion in 1804, therefore we have plenty to be thankful for that infrastructure hasn’t crumbled all around us. Much of it simply wasn’t designed to cater for such large number of inhabitants.

Whilst we’re on the subject of the planet, it might be worth considering dimensions. As we shift through the gears from 1D, which is concerned with length and distance in one dimension, to 2D for the width and area of two dimensional geometries, 3D for depth and volume over three dimensions and now 4D (it gets quite scientific here with space and time), we start to realize the possibilities of what these can mean when applied to infrastructure. Software is now firmly advancing to 3D and even 4D. 4D is an interesting juxtaposition as this relates to time, or perhaps in this case, temporal analysis of infrastructure assets if coupled with 3D for surveying and monitoring purposes. It’s all starting to sound quite technical, so where might one go to find out more?

SPAR 3D Expo & Conference is the premier global marketplace for 3D Technologies and the annual conference is set to take place April 11-14 in the Woodlands, Texas. This conference unifies multiple industries and aims to answer a major question: “Why is almost every industry now adopting 3D technology”. It is an interesting question, and one characterized by the potential found within the 3D (or 4D) environment. Key speakers at the conference will present their stories and some will showcase visions for the future.

Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley Systems is the keynote and will be delivering a presentation called Lessons Learned through Reality Modeling for the Pope’s Visit to Philadelphia. Greg will discuss how state of the art context capture was used in planning Pope Francis’s visit to the United States last year. Greg Bentley will show how the latest advances in software for reality capture through digital photography was a game changer for the Pope’s visit, and how it points the way to future advances in reality modeling, continuous surveying and the visual operations of infrastructure assets.

“Continuous surveying” to me seems a standout phrase as reality modeling looks set to dominate the 3D and 4D space for a while.  Continuous surveying - through which ordinary digital photography from position-aware UAV’s, smart phones, and video is routinely processed by “reality modeling” software, such as ContextCapture, into computationally tractable 3D geometry at any desired level of precision with ongoing monitoring capabilities offers new opportunities to so many industries. If you consider the 4D element of temporal analysis to manage and monitor change, then continuous surveying and all the software and hardware associated may become the must-have equipment for all maintenance crews.

I think - therefore I am (Rene Descartes, not to be confused with Bentley Descartes) fairly sure that the world is grateful to the clever advancements that have helped to sustain the worlds infrastructure.  Grateful that 3D and 4D technologies are providing such benefits to society. The Papal visit was indeed a huge success thanks to software that simulated the environment in advance. This is truly ground-breaking technology and something SPAR3D Conference will focus in on, and I’m looking forward to learning more.

Greg Bentley’s presentation will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 09:30AM at SPAR 3D Expo & Conference. SPAR 3D is held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center in The Woodlands, TX. For more information or to register, visit www.spar3d.com/event. Qualified media receive free registration.