Author Archives: abi

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 

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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VentusAR included in 3D Technology in Planning Report

This week the research report “USE OF DIGITAL AND 3D VISUALISATION TECHNOLOGY IN PLANNING FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT” was published by the Scottish Government.Planning_Report

This independent report examines the role and potential of digital imagery and 3D visualisation in the planning process in Scotland. Produced by the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, it was commissioned to inform the review of the planning system.

The report makes reference to the work of Linknode in the use, acceptance and value of 3D visualisation in planning, especially for real-time, in-situ visualisations for better contextual understanding of change and development (George – our technical director – was especially pleased as the report includes a photo of him using VentusAR at Clyde Wind Farm).

GBIt details the importance of digital equivalence in planning and how future advances in 3D visualisations should be embraced by local authorities and developers at earlier stages in the planning process to improve engagement and understanding.

Linknode entirely support this direction and look forward to on-going participation in the development of 3D visualisation in planning & development in Scotland and beyond. To be involved further, review the “Places, People and Planning” consultation of the future of the Scottish Planning System with opportunities to respond.

Report History and Scottish Planning Review

As previously blogged, this is part of the Scottish Planning Review that started with a call for evidence in September 2015.  The response to this was published in July 2016 (our comments here), leading to the commissioning of a report in October 2016 into the use of 3D visualisation technology in planning for new development.  This was funded by the Planning & Architecture Division of the Scottish Government.

Case Study: VentusAR

Out of the 44 bits of technology mentioned in the the report, our VentusAR and UrbanPlanAR solutions for delivering visualisations is noted as the only mobile augmented reality tool (see Annex A for full list).  Of course, we are also based in Glasgow making our contributions innovative, relevant and local!

The report provides a case study on VentusAR for providing in-field Augmented Reality for Agri-Renewables. The key benefits highlighted in this case study are:

  • The use of real world imagery (still or animated) provides high levels of realism for use at early stages of a project.
  • A low cost and level of risk associated with the investment in the visual representations.
  • The incorporation of real-world video enables the representation of movement in the landscape (e.g. swaying trees, vehicles) […] and thus important in coherent representation of a scene of proposed change.
  • Coherence supports the impression of credibility of visualisations.

About VentusAR

We are already providing our clients with the tools to better visualise and communicate their developments. Our online case studies include:

Green Cat Renewables

Greencat Solar visualisationWhen using VentusAR, GreenCat Renewables estimate they save 30% of the time required to visualise and assess Solar and Wind projects. Read the full case study.

 

LDA Design

VentusAR - Wind Turbine Visualisation LDALDA Design benefits from being able to rapidly evaluate projects early on in the development lifecycle and being able to clearly communicate information to clients and consultees. Read the full case study.

Hoolan Energy

Aerial photography of the Hesta Project

Hoolan Energy used VentusAR to do better public engagement for the Costa and Hesta wind projects in Orkney.   Read the full case study or watch the videos: Costa and Hesta.

 

Find out More

You can read more about VentusAR (our product for delivering visualisations in a rural environment) and UrbanPlanAR (for creating visualisations in an urban environment).

If you would like to know more about our visualisation processes and how we can help you communicate your project to stakeholders and the public, drop us a line: hello@linknode.co.uk

Merry Christmas from everyone at Linknode

After a busy year, the team at Linknode would like to thank our customers, suppliers and friends for all your support, and look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Merry Christmas one and all.

from Abi, Crispin, George, Dave, Rufus, Stewart and Minh

( I think the boys can’t wait for the holidays, just to get away from my incessant singing of Christmas songs…. my favourite being ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ by Bing Crosby…. )

Enjoy 🙂

 

VentusAR 5.0 Released

We are delighted to announce that this morning we released VentusAR v5.0 into the app stores.

The release includes many new features across Wind, Grid, Solar and Building domains. The new features make the assessment and visualisation process on iPad or Android quicker and more efficient. To highlight a few: we have added new modes for displaying models, the ability to add multiple traces to a capture and introduced an improved, streamlines render output process.

Display Modes for Models

We have added new modes for displaying models – as classic models, in block colour (with no lighting / shadows) and as outlines.

  • The colours help to distinguish building types
  • The outline / transparency helps to show what is behind the development
  • This helps assessment process to understand how development fits in the environment
Block colour mode

Block colour mode

Outline mode

Outline mode

Model mode

Model mode

 

 

 

 

Adding Multiple Traces to Gallery Photographs

You can now add multiple traces to a capture, for example, removing multiple areas of foreground (hedges etc). This produces more realistic visualisations as the model appears to be within the image and not superimposed on top.

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3D model in Wireline Mode

Models shown on top of photograph

Multiple traces areas defined

Final Render – the buildings are shown in the photograph

 

Streamlined Render Process

We have improved the render process to ensure users can select all the options they want
– making output render production process quicker.

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Further information and full details of the other features in VentusAR 5.0 can be found in the release notes for iPad, Android and the Portal

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 559 6170 or email hello@ventusar.com 

Invitation to Participate in the Innovate UK Visualisation Project :: UrbanPlanAR

UrbanPlanAR is designed to enhance the value of BIM information by enabling in-field visualisation from any location, in real-time – creating more engaging and accessible understanding, integrated with current processes, software and formats.

The project is a development collaboration between Linknode Ltd and Heriot-Watt University, supported by Innovate UK (grant #102040).

The solution is a disruptive technology providing a 21st century alternative to desktop-based or VR assessment without outsourcing, remodelling or expensive proprietary systems.

UrbanPlanAR solves problems of:

  • Accurate urban location positioning – without the reliance on GNSS and only using affordable off-the-shelf consumer tablets
  • Disenfranchised stakeholders – by creating visualisations (impact assessments) personalised to their location in real-time
  • Late stage visualisation after design completion – by enabling integration and viewpoints throughout a project lifecycle at no additional cost
  • Remove expensive duplication in modelling – by providing a data pipeline integrated with existing industry tools and flowlines from major vendors

In order to:

  • Maximise reuse through existing investment in BIM and digital design
  • Provide accessible understanding of impact from within local communities
  • Deliver and share data for immediacy and relevance
  • Create trustworthy visualisations to enable better decision making

As the project transitions from technical development to application design, we need partners who are:

  • In the AEC industry running an active BIM project
  • Stakeholders from planning or public engagement
  • Willing to commit time and data for a private trial
  • Able to introduce new technology into an organisation
  • Brining a passion and interest in disruptive visualisation

In the first instance, please review the current concept video with “alpha” release software:

Our next development phases will address location precision, lighting and rendering by September and we will then be looking to arrange visits to showcase the work and create a partner network.

If our vision fits with your views on the reuse of BIM: using visualisation for communication and wider engagement, please feel free to call us on 0141 559 6170 or email hello@urbanplanar.com

www.urbanplanar.com

#Viz4BIM

 

 

Assessing and Visualising Buildings in VentusAR

To effectively assess a new buildings project, developers and landscape architects must be able to see and understand a 3D model within the landscape.  VentusAR provides a simple but effective workflow of converting 2D CAD designs into 3D easy to understand visualisations.

  • Fly Through provides an overview of the area around the project.
  • My View shows what the development looks like while on site and the Gallery mode stores photography and allows render and PDF production.

Model the Site in CAD

Layouts for building developments are created in CAD software.
Here, a selection of different types of buildings have been added as blocks in AutoCAD.  The scale and rotation angle of the block is used to define the size and orientation of the building.

modelsiteincad

Export from CAD and Import to VentusAR

Simply use built-in CAD commands (or custom scripts) to extract the location and orientation directly from the drawing.
Create a project in the VentusAR portal and efficiently import the file containing the building locations and dimensions.autocadtovar

Understand Context Using Fly Through

Opening the project in the VentusAR solution synchronises all data for offline use, automatically loading in the background terrain and mapping data.
The Fly Through mode provides an interactive project overview to communicate footprint and context in the landscape.  Navigation uses a combination of physical device orientation and intuitive screen gestures.

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Preview Visuals Onsite and Take Pictures

On-site visuals can be previewed from any location.  From pre-planned viewpoints to ad-hoc locations such as households and road junctions; VentusAR shows what a development will look like from wherever you are.
Photos are captured and stored in the Gallery, allowing layout revisions to be subsequently previewed without the requirement to return to site. Handheld-iPad

Produce Output Images and PDF Files

To share and communicate the visuals in scoping and feasibility reports, renders may be produced from the Gallery.
Different project presentation options include transparency, wireline, outline, lighting and masking.
Renders may be inserted into PDF templates with custom logos for presentation quality download.

Mark

VentusAR has been designed to integrate seamlessly into existing CAD design processes.  Utilising the same data for layouts and enabling rapid, yet powerful visuals extends the value of the design, allows for more iterative development and delivers higher value, higher quality visual communication with stakeholders.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your needs for assessing and visualising buildings using VentusAR. Call us on 0141 559 6170 or email hello@ventusar.com

Community Engagement for a Hoolan Energy Wind Development in Orkney

Last week we took part in our first full hands-on community engagement experience (although VentusAR has previously been used in many events by our clients themselves).

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We were commissioned by Hoolan Energy to provide visualisations for pre planning consultations on two Wind Farms on the Orkney Islands – Costa Head and Hesta Head.

Aerial photography of the Hesta Project

Aerial Photography Overlaid on a DTM Showing the Hesta Head Site

The first event on Wednesday was for the Costa Head site. The development is for up to five turbines up to 125m to tip.  We used a model of Vestas V105 turbines, with 72.5m height to hub and 52.5m blade length for visualisations.  Costa Head is located on the north west of the Orkney mainland and the event itself took place in the Birsay Community Hall.

On Thursday we were showcasing the Hesta Head site. Once again the development was for five Vesta V105 turbines with the same vital statistics as the Costa site. These would be located on the south east of South Ronaldsay, with the event taking place at the Cromarty Hall in St Margaret’s Hope.

We arrived with two visualisation options for each event – the first being a video show reel consisting of animated turbines displayed on viewpoint photography to demonstrate the extent of the project. The other was a bespoke piece of development work to allow instant visuals from any given postcode. This latter approach then used aerial photography as an overlay to allow quick and personalised views for attendees, allowing them to visualise the developments from any location such as their own properties or views of particular interest.

A busy couple of days saw around 150 members of the local communities attend the events, eager to understand more about the developments.  We also had the opportunity to engage with local authority planning officers and members of the community council. They were impressed with the level of information available to hand and could identify how the turbines would look from locations that matter to them.

All in all, a successful trip with feedback from “that’s a nifty bit of software” to “I can give better feedback now I know how it affects me”.

Lizzie Foot, Director at Hoolan said:

“The visualisations provided gave members of the public great quality and interactive viewpoints – the instant visuals from any given postcode were particularly well received.  Neither the show reel nor the instant visuals required internet connection and having David on hand to instantly respond to residents’ queries was helpful.  Would highly recommend and can see the benefit for future site visits in the field.”

You can read more about this on the Hoolan Energy website – http://www.hoolanenergy.com/

Please feel free to download the Hoolan_VAR_CaseStudy

If you are interested in how we can enhance your public engagement events – please get in touch on 0141 559 6170 or email hello@ventusar.com

VentusAR 4.5 Released

We are delighted to announce that this morning we released the latest version of VentusAR v4.5.

The release includes the ability to assess and visualise Building projects, drawing conductors between towers and wood poles in grid projects and transparency controls for the models and wirelines.

Buildings

We are particularly excited about being able to visualise buildings within our new domain. There are three type of building models available in VentusAR that can be added to a project: cuboid, pitched roof and default model. Each of the building types can be parameterised with the length, width and height in the portal and the model will be the building drawn accordingly.

A variety of different sized buildings shown in VentusAR Fly Through

Grid

Transmisson150-e1438175441149VentusAR 4.5 now has the ability to view conductors from tower to tower.

When the towers are set up in the portal, the conductors will automatically be added and viewable in Fly Through and My View.

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Conductors viewable in Fly Through

 Other new features

  • Relocation can now be done using postcodes. You can download the Gazetteer database, enter the postcode and use this to relocate.
  • Users can now adjust the transparency levels of both models and the terrain wirelines in all visualisation modes of VentusAR. This feature helps to align the camera feed to the terrain when everything has become congested.
  • A status bar has been added underneath the map to show the current location and accuracy of the internal GPS. This helps us to understand where the iPad is and how good a GPS signal it has. The conditions to allow user to open My View (Camera) or wireline have been re-worked to make them a bit more useful.
  • New sliders have been added to allow the wireline and the model opacity to be controlled in the visualisation mode.

Further information on VentusAR 4.5 can be found in the release notes for iPad, Android and the Portal

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 559 6170 or email hello@ventusar.com