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Using Reality Capture to develop as-builts of NASA’s Langley Research Center

Mitko Vidanovski
December 21, 2015


Since 1917, NASA’s Langley Research Center (LaRC) has been conducting aeronautical and aerospace research on military and civilian aircraft and spacecraft. Located in Hampton, Virginia, LaRC includes more than 290buildings on 788 acres. To support facility management, operations, and remodeling/retrofitting construction, LaRC’s GIS team uses a variety of technologies including GPS, optical total stations, and Reality Computing to collect and share spatial information.

For example, the team recently used Reality Computing to scan and generate an as-built 3D model of LaRC’s Hypersonic Facilities Complex, which houses multiple hypersonic wind tunnels. The team used a Faro Focus 3D laser scanner to capture 1,544 scans that were processed in Autodesk ReCap with target-less registration. The resulting point clouds were then used in Revit to develop very accurate as-built architectural and structural steel models.

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NASA reports that its use of Reality Computing dramatically reduced the time it normally spends on this process. “Autodesk ReCap has allowed us to minimize user interaction saving us time with target-less registration,” says Jason Hall, a NASA measurement specialist. “What once took 16 weeks of work is now done in 4 weeks. ReCap has been a key factor in reducing the time spent on the overall workflow.”

For more information about how LaRC’s GIS team used Reality Computing techniques and technology to map several other buildings and over 2.7 miles of utility tunnels, check out this article!

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Mitko Vidanovski

Mitko Vidanovski is an author and manager of the Autodesk ReCap blog. A Master's Degree Architect who joined the Reality Solutions Team in 2012 helping Autodesk lift two new innovative products on the market ReCap and ReMake. He is responsible for leading the online community efforts, developing product analysis, and making pilot tests of new technologies involving 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry. Previous to Autodesk, Mitko worked in progressive environments such as Otherlab and Because We Can, where he gained experience in various fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC milling.