IMMERSIVE VISUALISATION OF CONSTRUCTION SITE POINT CLOUD DATA, MESHES AND BIM MODELS IN A VR ENVIRONMENT USING A GAMING ENGINE
- Dept. of Civil Engineering, TC Construction - Geomatics, KU Leuven - Faculty of Engineering Technology, Ghent, Belgium
Keywords: Gaming Engine, Virtual Reality, Construction, Visualisation, Remote Sensing
Abstract. By adopting Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry shifted from a two-dimensional approach to a three-dimensional one in the design phase of a building. However, a similar three-dimensional approach for the visualisation of the current state of the construction works is lacking. Currently, progress reports typically include numerous pictures of the construction site or elements, alongside the appropriate parts of the 3D as-design BIM model. If a proper transition to a 3D design versus 3D current state were achieved, the evolved type of reports would become more comprehensible, resulting in more well-informed decision-making. This requires a single, unique software platform that is able to import, process, analyse and visualise both the as-design BIM model as well as the recorded data of the current construction state. At present however, the visualisation and interpretation of the different datasets alone requires already multiple software packages.
As a partial solution this work presents a platform to easily visualise and interpret various data sources such as point clouds, meshes and BIM models and analysis results. Recent advances of gaming engines focus on and allow for an excellent visualisation of mesh data. Therefore all of the aforementioned data sources are converted into mesh objects upon importing. Moreover, gaming engines provide the necessary tools to traverse the scene intuitively allowing construction site managers and other stakeholders to gain a more complete and better oversight of the construction project. Furthermore, these engines also provide the possibility to take the immersion to the next level: incorporating the 3D entities into a Virtual Reality (VR) environment makes the visualised data and the executed analyses even more comprehensible.
By means of a case study, the potential of the presented approach is showcased. The real-world construction site recordings, models and analyses are visualised and implemented in VR using the Unity gaming engine.