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Lasers, Drones, and BIM: Using Point Clouds and ARCHICAD to Document Historic Buildings

Below is a press release about an upcoming ARCHICAD webinar. I am really excited about this one. As you’ll read, it’s hitting upon a lot of things I love: stories based on practical experience, drones, lasers, working in a modern fashion, historic buildings, people doing great and creative things with ARCHICAD 19…I could go on and on.

But as much as I love robots with lasers saving our cultural heritage, I’m genuinely excited about the speaker: Phil Allsopp. I’ve known Phil for years. Well I’ve never met Phil (fingers crossed for 2016?), but I’ve had a ton of awesome conversations with him via e-mail, on LinkedIn, and in the comment section of my blog. Phil has a tendency to leave insightful and inspiring comments on my favorite posts, such has his great addition to my recent post “Is BIM making you a better designer?“. You can go read his whole comment via that link, but here’s the intro:

BIM – when used as a full multi-dimensional modeling system – can transform the entire process of design because we now have the modeling and simulation tools that folks in the automotive aerospace and consumer electronics products sectors have had and have used every single day for many years. BIM also highlights the incredible inefficiencies that far too many people and professionals take for granted in the construction and real estate sectors…

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, here’s a chance to listen to Phil talk about what that actually means to him, and how he’s transforming his own processes with ARCHICAD 19 and all the cool technology he is using to feed it data.banner-registration-point-clouds

GRAPHISOFT Hosts Live Online Webinar: Energizing Heritage Conservation with ARCHICAD Point Clouds and BIM

BUDAPEST, November 18, 2015 — GRAPHISOFT, the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) software vendor, will host a live, online webinar on December 8, 2015 about a revolutionary use of ARCHICAD to support an important preservation project.

In this webinar, Philip Allsopp, Chief Design Officer with Smart Pad Living, LLC (www.smartpadliving.com) and Senior Sustainability Scientist and Adjunct Professor at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will present a fascinating case study about a groundbreaking use of drones, 3D laser survey and point clouds with ARCHICAD 19.

The project concerns the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building, a 1938 WPA project built of concrete, steel, and some adobe. Original blueprints had been lost, and a set of high quality drawings were needed to support fund-raising and preservation efforts. These accurate as-built HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings of this important historic structure will also be lodged with the United States Library of Congress.

Estimates suggested the measuring alone, using traditional methods, would take 15-20 surveyors 3 months to complete—at an estimated cost of close to a quarter of a million US dollars.

Yet, the surveying project was completed in only four days, with post-processing taking only one more week. All made possible, Allsopp says, by the power of ARCHICAD 19.

“Halfway through scanning the grandstand, we checked the point cloud files and saw that we had created well over a billion data points. ARCHICAD 19 read that data in about 30 seconds. Creating sections and elevations of the point clouds took no more time than any section or elevation takes in ARCHICAD – it’s a matter of seconds,” Allsopp said.  “Having worked with some dedicated point cloud visualization tools, it is the only software I know that is able to handle, read and manipulate such a large data set so fast. Going forward, we will be using ARCHICAD extensively for creating orthographic images and drawings for the HABS parts of this important project,” he added.

Participants in the December 8 webinar will learn how the latest technology innovations allowed the Arizona and Oregon-based team using 3D scanners and drones to generate “point clouds” with all the necessary geometric information of the entire structure — including all interiors — at a high level of detail and accuracy (+/-2mm).

Philip Allsopp and his team at Smart Pad Living (www.smartpadliving.com), and ToPa3D (www.topa3d.com) captured an as-built model of the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building in record time. And, using ARCHICAD 19, the team imported 4 billion data points of the front and side scans of the building in less than a minute.

Learn how to align your design with automatically-generated, 100% accurate point cloud 3D geometry information, dramatically reducing the time spent on surveying, eliminating errors and saving money.

For a video introduction to ARCHICAD point clouds, click here!

Register for any one of the three, free online webinars!ARCHICAD Point Clouds

For Australia and Asia (English):

Tuesday, December 8, 2015; 4:00 PM AEDT (Sydney Time) register here:


For Europe, Middle-East and Africa (English):

Tuesday, December 8, 2015; 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM GMT (London Time) register here:


For the Americas (English):

Tuesday, December 8, 2015; 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST (Pacific Time, Los Angeles) register here:



GRAPHISOFT® ignited the BIM revolution in 1984 with ARCHICAD®, the industry-first BIM software for architects. GRAPHISOFT continues to lead the industry with innovative solutions such as its revolutionary BIMcloud®, the world’s first real-time BIM collaboration environment, EcoDesigner™, the world’s first fully BIM-integrated “GREEN” design solution and BIMx®, the world’s leading mobile app for BIM visualization. GRAPHISOFT has been a part of the Nemetschek Group since its acquisition in 2007.


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