Managing infrastructure is a challenge that takes a great deal of time, resources, and money. The faster a problem with a building or road is detected, the easier it is to address, but when you’re managing an entire city, that’s easier said than done. 3D technology can make the job easier, however, as a team of researchers from Russia, China and India has realized. A group of specialists from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, East China Normal University, and the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee are working together to develop software that will create detailed 3D models of urban infrastructure objects using a combination of laser scanning and photography.
The project was the winner of the international scientific consortiums competition of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries in science, technology and innovation, part of the BRICS STI Framework Programme.
The team is developing software that will process raw data of laser scans, creating point clouds from the scan data. The researchers will create the image projections and combine them with photography data, which significantly improves the segmentation quality of the point clouds created from the laser scanning. Using those projections allows for the display of all 3D data on the monitor and improves the quality and processing speed. It also helps to adjust the required display scale of the object and to obtain the most accurate image, without shadows.
“In cooperation with our foreign colleagues, we analyze the point clouds, obtained by laser scanner survey technologies and develop the software that enables to recognize the particular features of the materials, the texture of the objects and its changes,” said Vladimir Badenko, a professor in the Institute of Civil Engineering at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. “Our developments can be used for monitoring and repair of the road infrastructure, as well as on the preservation of objects of cultural and historical heritage.”
Having detailed 3D scans of roads, buildings and bridges allows for officials to have a close, detailed look at the structures without actually having to physically examine every inch of them. It also means that if severe damage is caused to a historical building, from an earthquake or storm, for example, a fully accurate record is available to serve as a template for rebuilding. Historical buildings can be fully preserved in digital form, with every detail documented, and can be reproduced for museum or educational purposes through 3D printing.
The BRICS STI Framework Programme was established in 2015, and was aimed at facilitating cooperation between countries to find solutions to issues involving sustainable agriculture, food security, natural disasters, water resources and pollution treatment, new and renewable energy, energy efficiency, space research, geospatial technology, medicine and life sciences, new materials and nanomaterials, photonics, information and communication technology, ocean and polar sciences, and other areas. In 2016, the first call went out for projects involving researchers from multiple BRICS states.
Much of the data in the 3D scanning project is being processed at the Supercomputer Center at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.
[Images supplied by Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University]