Category Archives: Digital

From Photomontage to Videomontage!

New media does not stand still for long.

In order to support the move from photography to video in engagement and communication, Linknode are launching our unique TrueViewVisuals Videomontage service.

We know that in the future, immersive realities will have a significant impact on our lives, augmenting our world with information curated for us by Artificial Intelligence focused on interests, time and location.  Our professional tools for understanding change through planning are in for the journey, but for communication and sharing of plans and designs we realised we need to provide something more, something unique and engaging.

Our social communication is a benchmark for what is expected in 2017.  Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are increasingly video focused, supported by new standards in camera recording, broadband capacity and user expectations.

As a case study, earlier this month we took a road trip up to the North East of Scotland and captured some imagery of a planned project.

z drone

“The videomontages produced by TrueViewVisuals are not only innovative, but look stunning also. The HD video allows for a greater appreciation of a development site, giving new perspectives and a realism that cannot be paralleled with static photography.” 

Alasdair Warnock, Green Cat Renewables

This builds on our strengths and capabilities, tested and used for five years in landscape assessment.  Using real-world video as the basis of our production we can deliver more realistic, faster and easier to update video for use in public engagement, campaigns and sales.

If you have any queries regarding these new features, or you would like to chat further about how we can help create amazing videomontages, please give us a call on 0141 374 2741 or email hello@trueviewvisuals.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.

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.

IMG_0172

IMG_0203

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

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

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

What Does Pokémon GO Mean for AR?

Unless you have been under a rock for the past few weeks (July 2016), you can’t have helped but notice that Pokémon GO has somewhat taken the world by storm.  In doing so it has also brought the term “augmented reality” (AR) to the masses with everyone including Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg weighing in with comment and opinion.

Pokemon GO

Linknode use AR as a technology to provide real-world, real-time visualisation for planning and development, so what does the conversion of a technology into a consumer application mean?

The Google Maps Connection

Within the geospatial business, we have seen a similar transition previously.  Back in the day, when digital mapping meant high end desktops and expensive software, the introduction of online mapping had a disruptive effect on the industry.

A startup called Keyhole was acquired by Google in 2004 and the founder John Hanke went on to enable Google Maps.  This was the first time that most lay-people had had access to mapping beyond the street atlas in the back of the car.  It was a revolution.

Within the geospatial industry, initially it caused a dilution in the “value of GIS systems” message.  Why pay big bucks for something you could get for free from Google?

But long term the understanding that the consumer offering is not the same as professional solutions has created a market, provided a route to understanding and clarity over the limitations.  Pokémon GO does not manage occlusion, real-time lighting, complex models, or precision coordinate system management for engineering accuracy.

And what happened to John Hanke?  Well, he went onto develop a clique AR game called Ingress and then his studio Niantic developed Pokémon GO – the guy has form!  You can read more detail with a search, example Forbes article here.

Future

So the future is AR.  But Linknode’s real-world AR (GIality) solutions VentusAR and UrbanPlanAR are as different to Pokémon GO as ArcGIS is to Google Maps.  Still, at least people have an idea what we do now!

Mario Kart GoImage Courtesy of News Thump – Release of Mario Kart Go! for Satnav ‘hopefully won’t cause too many accidents’

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

 

 

Planning Review Scotland – Greater use of 3D

Independent Review of Planning – Recommendations

In September 2015, the Scottish Government put out a call for evidence under the Independent Review of Scottish Planning System. Linknode submitted our response on 30th November and this week (8 July 2016) the Scottish Government Response was announced on the Planning & Architecture blog.

There are two key recommendations in this report that demonstrate foresight and vision in the fields of innovation support for planning. Particularly around the use of 3D visualisations in the planning process.

Continue reading

Which is Better for a Public Meeting?

In the last few weeks, as part of our BIM stakeholder engagement for the Innovate UK funded UrbanPlanAR.com project, I have visited the UK Ordnance Survey (OS) and seen their presentations at Geo Business.

Whilst traditionally (for about the past 225 years) the OS has been involved in data capture and presentation, increasingly the business is understanding the value in the use of information.  Moving spatial data from geometry to intelligence and backdrop to analytical services.

In relation to Linknode’s geospatial visualisation, one slide from Gary McDonald resonates with our use of technology.  The opportunity to make change more accessible and understandable – and to deliver it on-site where context counts will lead to greater engagement and a more democratic and better decision making.  Which do you think is better?…

Which is better...

For more information on Linknode’s visualisation products and services visit VentusAR.com or follow the contact us links.