Tom Na Clach Windfarm Grid Connection Planning Application

VentusAR visualisations have been used on the Tom Na Clach windfarm Grid connection! The landscape and visual assessment for this project was completed by one of our clients who were keen to try out VentusAR on a planning application.

Tom Na Clach Grid connection is a project to connect the consented Tom Na Clach wind farm to the national grid. It is proposed to be a wood pole connection of approximately 15km of wood pole supporting a 132kV circuit. It has been submitted to Highland council and has planning application notice of 16/05709/S37.

Visualisations

Visualisations have been created to Highland Council Standards using VentusAR. Below are some examples of the visualisations submitted – for Viewpoint 1 there is an example of the baseline panorama, matching wireline and photomontage.

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The full PDF for the viewpoint can be downloaded below.

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To find out more about how VentusAR can help produce visualisations for planning applications, get in touch hello@ventusar.com

#PlanTech and The Future of Planning

Last week was the inaugural PlanTech Week in London, hosted at the The Urban Innovation Centre, part of the Future Cities Catapult in Clerkenwell.

PlanTech

#PlanTech follows in the footsteps of #PropTech and #FinTech as the technology discussion arm of the planning & development community.  PlanTech, best described in the words of the FCC founders is “a showcase for the emerging technologies, innovations and visions that are transforming the way we plan our cities, towns and neighbourhoods“.

PlanTech_Week

As part of the PlanTech Future of Planning programme, Linknode were both at the Thursday evening Exhibition Launch and the Innovator Showcase.

What we Did

For those of you who have been following along, and a reminder for those new to the project, our work as part of the Future of Planning was in improving citizen and community engagement throughout the planning & development process.  We blogged about the project brief in March this year and delivered a

video from our ambitious working prototype as part of the project report.  A summary of our results is listed below.

  • Consumer mobile devices are capable of processing BIM data for on-street live visualisation using mixed-reality approaches
  • The highest quality videomontage production methods still require some offline processing and manual intervention
  • BIM integration provides rapid design review for professional assessment, but consumer access is more valuable when presented with rendered textured surfaces
  • The business models show space for commercial innovation in the sector
  • Our exciting next developments will take urban visualisation to a whole new level of engagement

Like our recent work in visual route assessment, the video is the most powerful form of delivery and communication.  The content below came from the application delivered for the project and shows BIM data for part of the Tottenham Court Road interchange redevelopment for The Elizabeth Line / Crossrail development in London.

(demonstration video, not to be utilised for Visual Impact Assessment)

Next Steps

For anyone interested in more detail relating to the results, to discuss opportunities for involvement and engagement in their own projects, or to work on future Future of Planning initiatives with us… please get in touch.

Visualisation for the Next Generation of Power Engineers

I watched a webcast and was struck by the amount of work and systems involved in creating a “real world” 3D model.

The webcast was an Autodesk webcast called Visualisation for the Next Generation of Power Engineers. I’ve embedded it below if you fancy a watch.

This webcast takes the watcher through the process of creating a visually rich 3D model of a Grid project. It incorporates loading data from lots of sources and creating a 3D visualisation to explain the design of the electrical system.

Autodesk highlight their value proposition as:

  • leveraging enterprise GIS and Design model information to enhance collaboration and project insight.
  • 3D models can be used as a means of communication for public outreach.

Building a model vs Using the Real World

My thought was that Autodesk spent a long time modelling the world. They loaded LiDAR data into Civils3D to provide a baseline, added new changes to the earthworks, add the new project before finally creating a visualisation. This all takes time, expertise and equipment to do. Could it be done quicker and cheaper any other way?

We use the real world as the basis of our visualisation solution. Our solutions allow us to place any 3D model at any location in the landscape. We have successfully added many different types of models ranging from 13m wood poles to 50m towers to new substations – all visualised in the real world – not a virtual world.

AllfiveTransmisison
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 16.56.50For more information about how VentusAR can be used to visualise Grid projects for design and stakeholder engagement get in touch: hello@ventusar.com or 0141 374 2741

Conductor Line Sag in Grid Projects

One of the features we  added recently is drawing realistic looking Conductor lines between towers on our Grid projects.

Prior to VentusAR 5.4 we drew straight lines between the connector points on the tower models. This had the effect of fairly unrealistic looking conductor lines as even across the shortest distance the conductor lines sag slightly due to gravity.

This post shows some examples of the line sag development and adds some more detail on how the line sag is calculated.

Catenary Formula

The line sag formula we use when displaying the conductor lines on a transmission project is based on a generalisation of the catenary formula. To calculate the sag at a given point we use the following formula:

LineSag_Formula

Where:

  • a is half the distance between towers (in meters)
  • y is the drop at that point in the conductor (in meters)

Maths Example

Lets take a worked example, if the towers were 200m apart, then the variable a would be 100. We can calculate the value at three sample points:

  • at x = 0 the sag due is calculated as 0m – which would make sense – it is at the top of the tower
  • at x = 200 the sag is calculated as 0m – it also makes sense as it at the top of the other tower
  • at x= 100, the sag calculated is 10.033m – this is the bottom of the catenary curve

This is easiest shown with a graph. Below is a screenshot (with slight optical illusion):

LineSag_Graph

Visual Example

When drawing the line sag, we calculate thirty points along the wire and work out the sag between each of those points  – we then draw a series of straight lines between each point.  Our curve is actually a series straight lines between each of these points, but as you can see the visual impact is effective.

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Line sag modelling has been added to all Grid projects that use conductor lines.

Limitations

This is only an approximation of how line sag works, I have asked an engineer how line sag is actually calculated and discovered it is far more complicated than I wanted to represent in a generic Visual Assessment tool like VentusAR.

This formula could cause conductor lines to be drawn underground – it is up to the person who set up the model to ensure that the span between towers is reasonable.  Custom modelling is, of course, available on any project where additional detail is required.

More Information

For more information about line sag and how we can help you visualise and assess your Grid projects, tower and conductor lines, give us a shout at hello@ventusar.com

VentusAR 5.4 Released

Today we released VentusAR v5.4 into the app stores.

The release includes many new features, bug fixes and performance improvements across Wind, Grid, Solar and Building domains.

These include 3D building data from Open Street Map now available for alignment in MyView and the addition of ellipses to turbines to help visualise wind turbulence for wind projects (available in FlyThrough)

3D Building data from Open Street Map

3D building data can now be added to MyView for improved alignment process. A new switch has been added to the Right panel to turn on and off 3D building data. When turned on the data is loaded from Open Street Map (and cached on the device for offline usage). The building data responds to opacity and calibration settings.

Original Photograph

Original Photograph

Building data loaded from Open Street Map

Building data loaded from Open Street Map

Building data overlaid ontop of the phtoography to assist in alignment

Building data overlaid on-top of the photography to assist in alignment

Ellipse to show turbulence areas around a Turbine

An additional option has been added to show an ellipse around the turbine base to represent the area of turbulence caused by the turbine. The option is available in the Fly Through (by choosing the Show Turbine Ellipses switch. The Ellipse follows the terrain and moves as the turbine moves.

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Icelandic and Canadian Projects

New projections have been added to the portal to allow creation of projects in Iceland (using the ISN2004 / Lambert 2004 projection) and in Canada (using NAD83 / Alberta 10-TM (Forest) projection).

As there is no national terrain data available for Iceland and Canada, please contact us if you want to try out these countries.

If you have any queries regarding these new features, or you would like to chat further about how VentusAR can help you with your visualisations, please give us a call on 0141 374 2741 or email hello@ventusar.com 

Places, People and Planning Consultation

There is just one day left to respond to the “Places, people and planning – A consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system” proposal document.
PPP

Closing on 4 April 2017, this is the current stage in a process started in 2015 and with a plan to implement a new Planning Bill within the current parliamentary period.

The consultation paper is here, and is the follow-up to the report as previously discussed at Blogality.

It is great to see that Proposal 20 (out of 20) focuses on the benefits that technology and innovation can bring to the planning system.  There are three paragraphs, each highlighting areas where Linknode have input to date.  Section 4.29 is all about benefits of “digitally enabling transformation of our public services” that includes the work we pioneered for ePlanning (now eDevelopment) over the last 10 years.
Section 4.30 introduces current activities including the “potential on three-dimensional visualisations in planning” (our contributions here) describing the next steps as to “continue to explore and promote new visualisation technology by taking forwards research recommendations in a new programme of work“.
Finally, in 4.31 we are excited to see that the new digital task force will be appointed to take forwards digital transformation including mobile and drone (UAV) activities, matching our current research activities on engagement, access and visualisation.

Click below to contribute to the consultation – don’t delay!
https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/planning-architecture/a-consultation-on-the-future-of-planning/

We live in a 3D world

Blog first published on Future Cities Catapult http://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/2017/03/27/blog-live-3d-world/ 

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We live in a multi-dimensional world and experience our environment through our senses. For most people, vision is the dominant way we experience the world. Our sense of orientation within a given context, location, and place is determined by an animated 3D model of the world that our brains construct from the cues around us. Light, materials, textures, and shapes all affect the emotional resonance that we feel within a place.

Without engaging communities and citizens in their own way of understanding world, we risk alienating and disenfranchising people by propagating fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). Instead we should empower citizens to be able to understand and make sense of development proposals and engage fully in the planning and placemaking process.

Linknode is working to solve this problem by developing a tool to make complex information about development proposals more accessible, relevant and understandable. In the modern world, accessible means mobile, device-centric, and personalised of data for on-demand information.

Accessibility also means being “location aware”.  In a desktop environment, a search engine can return results based on keywords, profiling and history, but search in a mobile context has the ability to enrich result with environmental context. For example, a search for the term “coffee shop” on a mobile device should return information about coffee shops in my immediate vicinity, not only a Wikipedia article about this history of coffee shops.

In order to make complex data about development proposals relevant and accessible, we need to provide contextual understanding. With this in mind, Linknode is creating a tool that enables users to visualise proposals in three-dimensional mixed-reality environment, providing real-time integration with BIM and 3D data on-screen. The benefit of seeing a development in context and in scale is to decrease fear, misunderstanding and doubt while increasing engagement with the planning process and building more ownership with stronger communities.

In the Future of Planning we will adapt our capacity to deliver mobile experiences to consumer applications for the first time.

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Future Cities :: Future of Planning

We are delighted to confirm that we have been selected as one of the shortlisted 10 projects in the Future Cities Catapult “Future of Planning” initiative.eventbrite-002-1600x800

 

 

 

 

 

https://smartcitiesworld.net/governance/smes-help-to-overhaul-uk-planning-1473

Our solution B4itsBuilt, mobilises citizen engagement through true visualisation.

This project will extend professional, accurate, real-world AR experiences into the public domain for the first time. It will deliver the template for a consumer solution to allow users to see the visual effect of a planning application. It will be possible to hold up a phone or tablet and see the impact of an application in order to enable informed engagement and increase community influence in decision making.

If you would like to be involved as a data partner, and have a project / development you would like to see – please feel free to get in touch – hello@linknode.co.uk or call us on 0141 559 6170

catapuly

 

 

New SNH Visualisation Guidance Published (Lighting)

We were reminded today that the latest version of the SNH “Visual Representation of Wind Farms” came out of draft and was published last month (February 2017).

Version 2.2 of the guidance is an iterative update following the major release update (v2.0) in summer 2014 and the v2.1 revisions in December the same year.

A summary document of changes has been published as a separate download and provides practitioners and interested parties a rapid insight into the changes without the need to compare paragraph by paragraph.  The major change, impacting visual assessment and output for new developments is in paragraphs 174-177:

Turbine Lighting

For turbines in excess of 150m, the need to consult on new lighting visuals is now required.  Although future technical mitigation may help here, there is currently the recommendation to capture images at dusk and create a photomontage based on existing lighting (static streets, moving vehicles, other aviation lighting).
The visualisation should use photographs taken in low light conditions, preferably when other artificial lighting (such as street lights and lights on buildings) are on, to show how the wind farm lighting will look compared to the existing baseline at night.

NOT the Way to Visualise Wind Turbine Lighting!

Specifically the guidance makes reference to innovation in that SNH “encourage applicants to explore new techniques to do this, and emphasise the importance of early dialogue

We are looking for someone who will be creating night light visualisations to ensure that our upcoming night light features being built into VentusAR will work. If you have a project at the right stage, get in touch!

Animation

As we have experienced with the difference between animated wind turbines when compared against static imagery, there is a big difference between views of lighting where all the turbines are at a “maximum visibility” (worst case scenario) visibility and a more normalised situation with different wind directions and rotation occluding lights at certain times.  The more realistic effect can create a fairy lights twinkling effect, but is more representative.

For any clients, landscape assessors, planners or developers interested in exploring new ways to communicate, please contact us at hello@ventusar.com