Looking at Job Sites from Different Angles with 360° Cameras
By Chad Houska – As an architect or engineer, how many times have you returned from a job site to review your pictures only to find that you missed that one important corner of the room? Not only is this aggravating, but it potentially means that someone will need to return to the site to capture the missed building information.
Add this frustration to the fact that getting back to job sites might not be as easy these days with social distancing in place due to Covid-19.
In this age of technology, nearly everyone has a phone – some of them with extraordinary cameras on them. Though handy for taking quick pictures, our phones have inherent limitations. One such limitation is the field of view.
While many of us use them to take job site photos, oftentimes, multiple cell phone pictures are required in order to document a whole wall or room. On smaller projects, this may not be an issue, but on larger projects, the number of photos needed to document a site can become overwhelming.
Sometimes, modern problems require modern solutions. Enter the 360° camera.
Saving Time and Money
Though 360° cameras have existed for some time now, they are often overlooked as an important tool for architects and engineers who may rely on laser scanners to perform the same task.
While a laser-scanned site will generally provide design teams with more tools to use for review than a 360° camera, they come at a premium price tag. A high-quality laser scanner can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000, whereas a high-quality 360° camera will only run about $500. This price tag is much more palatable and can allow for a higher level of site review without a large hit to overhead expenses.
Collaborate with Bluebeam Revue
Once back in the office, there are some pretty cool and powerful things that can be done with a 360° picture.
Bluebeam Revue has a function where a camera icon can be placed on a floor plan where the photo was taken and act as a live link to the picture itself. Imagine having a PDF containing your site documentation that also shows where every picture was taken. This PDF can then be shared with others on the design team who are working remotely and may not be able to visit the site often. Having these types of documents will help create a greater level of collaboration during the design process.
In summary, 360° cameras are an affordable way to simplify and improve the quality of your site documentation. As an architect or design engineer, you can create a greater understanding of the project ahead with only a few secondary steps.
By using 360° imagery, you can deliver full, detailed pictures of your project that will not only help save time and money but also provides high-quality client service.
Chad Houska, is a Mechanical Engineer Technician who works airports, wastewater, and higher education projects from Morrison-Maierle’s Bozeman office. When not at work, you can find him recreating in Montana’s mountains and waterways.
Technical reviews of this article provided by Joe Hughes, PE, and Matt Carr, PE.