PSU Team Honored for 3-D Model of Campus

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A research team at Penn State University was named one of the three finalists for a virtual reality modeling award at the Year in Infrastructure 2017 Conference.

At the conference, held Oct. 10 through 12 in Singapore, architectural engineering professor John Messner doctoral and candidate Zhouqian Jiang were named finalists for the Be Inspired award.

The two worked with Bentley Systems Inc., which presents the award, to create a 3-D model of the university’s main campus. Over the course of the 2016-17 school year, the team took thousands of aerial photographs of the 79-acres campus. The images were processed to create a 3-D mesh, resulting in a “scalable reality mesh.”

“The Context Capture software leverages photogrammetry approaches to extract 3-dimensional models by comparing consistent points across multiple photo images,” Messner said in a release. “These points are then compiled into a 3-D mesh, and approximated textures are placed on the mesh elements simulate reality.”

After processing, the images were combined with several Penn State information systems, including building information modeling and the geographic information system, to create a monitoring system for the university’s Office of Physical Plant. The research team is exploring ways to make it easier for workers in the office to pull up information on buildings simply by clicking on the rendering.

“There are many valuable use cases for leveraging an interconnected model of our campus,” Messner said. “We would like to get to a point where we can easily retrieve information about all the buildings, the infrastructure that supports the campus, and the real-time sensor data that is being collected from many sources.”

Pictured: A 3-D model of Beaver Stadium at Penn State created by a research team at the university.

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