OpenSpace software

A US government agency has chosen OpenSpace to capture and record its buildings


Lights, camera, construction | Imaging quenches real estate’s thirst for accuracy

From Grosvenor to the US government, organisations are buying into the need for recording and capturing developments from start to finish.

Grosvenor’s UK real estate business last week invested in Pupil, a company that digitally maps both commercial and residential spaces with high degrees of accuracy.

Using industrial-grade light detection and ranging scanning hardware, Pupil captures millions of points of measurement using RICS-certified digital surveyors.

In its partnership with Pupil, Grosvenor will create what it calls a “digital footprint” of a significant portion of its portfolio. This will include floor plans, photography, CAD drawings, lease plans, site information drawings and 3D models.

PlaceTech recently spoke to Pupil about why digital measurements matter and just how inaccurately measured both residential and commercial spaces have traditionally been.

The deal comes several months after the Grosvenor UK real estate business allocated £65m for investment into European early-stage companies that it believed would help to achieve its environmental, social and commercial goals.

Andy Doyle, innovation director at Grosvenor Property UK, said: “With a highly regarded and scalable model, Pupil is set to become the dominant spatial data company in the property industry.

“As a customer and investor, we’ve been impressed by the accuracy, speed and quality of the output from Pupil’s technology and how it can help us improve data-driven decision-making and property marketing for our own portfolio.

Government-backed contech

Across the pond, the US Public Buildings Service, which maintains a portfolio of 8,800 government properties across 370m sq ft, tapped OpenSpace and JLL Technologies to provide image capture services.

USPBS will use OpenSpace Capture to support the management of assets and projects throughout its assets’ planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance phases.

OpenSpace will partner with JLL Technologies on the contract and provide support for its rollout across the US.

During the pandemic, USPBS started exploring ways to manage projects remotely. The department, part of the US General Services Administration agency, will use OpenSpace to document site status and project progress for everything from courthouses to warehouses.

Users attach a 360° camera to their hardhat and walk around the site to capture it. OpenSpace’s software then stitches the images together and attaches it to the floorplan to keep a record of site status.

Ramping up capabilities

While Pupil and OpenSpace signed up significant new clients and partners, Faro Technologies, whose clients include major US contractor and construction manager Hensel Phelps, has introduced new construction capture features to its Sphere imaging platform. These features include:

  • Sphere Viewer: using a combination of computer vision, photogrammetry and AI, the tool creates a “comprehensive virtual jobsite”
  • VideoMode: a feature that uses 360° videos for faster and easier site documentation
  • ProgressAI: a feature that automatically detects and reports site progress
  • Robotics API: an API that allows robotics manufacturers to integrate and import captured data from robots straight into the virtual jobsite

Will Plato, senior virtual design and construction manager at Hensel Phelps, said: “For the first time, we can unite speed, accuracy and analytics capabilities of stationary and mobile 3D laser scanning as well as 360° photo and video.

“Gone are the days of static, standalone point cloud and 360° projects.”

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