Live 3D visualization and navigation in SCADA systems

November 5, 2018 | Zbynek Pilny

This article focuses on a modern method of creating impressive three-dimensional visualizations in a short space of time without having to make complicated models.

You must have come across this: the visualization of any process looks as good as its author is skillful and proficient in graphic design. Many years ago, visualizations were done in a simplistic, flat, and plain style. Later, however, the advent of more powerful computers and higher-quality graphics software corresponded to the higher-quality visualizations created with SCADA systems. Realistic models of tanks, pipes, machines, and devices made with three-dimensional modeling tools began to be used in diagrams. The resulting visualization then became more attractive and was thus closer to real technological equipment.

After that, to make the perfect visualization, some companies started modeling complete production lines and halls using 3D tools. Within the visualization, the model could be zoomed in, zoomed out, and rotated in any direction. The resulting application had the advantage of being almost perfectly authentic. This method of visualization does have its disadvantages, though. Any three-dimensional modeling is time-consuming and financially demanding. It must be performed – using special software – by an expert down to the last detail. If significant technological changes occur in the future, everything must be remodeled. Today's state-of-the-art graphics tools, however, allow doing it in a much faster and easier way.

GEOVAP is – in the Czech Republic – an exclusive representative of the German company NavVis GmbH, which is a developer and manufacturer of professional 3D indoor mapping solutions. This service is marketed under the trade name Indoor3D. NavVis M6 Indoor Mobile Mapping System is an indoor mobile mapping system equipped with six
high-resolution cameras, four laser lidars, and other sensors. It allows you to capture up to 20,000 square meters of area per day. Data (point clouds, 360° imagery) is stored on an SSD and then processed automatically.

Three-dimensional indoor mapping is used by many major companies, such as BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Siemens, Allianz, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsches Museum Munich, or Munich Airport.

Where to use 3D mapping

  • Manufacturing facilities
    • Production planning and monitoring
    • Production line optimization
    • Distance minimization for moving materials and persons
  • Facility management
  • Fire departments, police, ambulance
    • Quick orientation within the building for rescue teams
  • Construction companies and developers
    • Construction progress monitoring
  • Logistics centers and warehouses
  • Transportation hubs (airports, railroad stations)
  • Exhibition and convention centers
  • Hotels and spas
  • Historical monuments, galleries, museums
    • Virtual tours with interactive audio and video guides
  • Shopping malls and supermarkets
  • Real estate agencies
  • Public institutions (schools, authorities, medical facilities)
  • Insurance companies and banks

The following features are also available

  • Graphical comparison of changes before and after reconstruction
  • Placing 3D objects from AutoCAD into existing spaces
  • Connection to Autodesk Revit (building information modeling software)
  • Distance and height measurement
  • Room area and volume calculation
  • Interior reconstruction architectural designs
  • Virtual tours (today, after reconstruction)
  • Indoor navigation (buildings, large complexes)

Indoor navigation is the icing on the cake. A mobile application available for Android and Apple has been designed for this purpose. The application allows simple navigation to any point of interest or to any room. It is suitable for use not only in large buildings like universities or civic buildings, but also in large complexes consisting of many individual buildings, such as manufacturing facilities. In these buildings, the system can navigate employees "from chair to chair".

Perhaps you wonder what to do when the layout of the interior changes significantly. In such a case, you can easily and quickly resurvey the interior. The updated 3D model then replaces the original data. The points of interest you had created earlier no longer need to be inserted again. They stay in place, so model updates can be very fast with no extra work.

GEOVAP also has equipment for 3D outdoor laser mapping. By combining the two mapping methods, complete 3D models of buildings, facilities, or even cities can be created. Such a 3D model can serve as the foundation for both complete ERP systems and smart city projects.

Indoor 3D, NavVis M6 mobile mapping systemIndoor 3D, logo