LIDAR for As-built Documentation of Planetarium

Different evaluations in PointCab OriginsPro

Seiler Instrument’s Planetarium Division has always had to deal with a complex challenge: the precise placement of Projectors within unique Theatre spaces. This objective is complicated by the mere measurement of these as-built spaces that feature sloped floors and domes, as well as the representation and communication of proposed designs to project stakeholders. Seiler Planetarium’s Howard George was using a combination of manual measurements plus a Total Station to accomplish this, a very time-consuming process. The first productivity move was to implement a GeoSLAM ZEB Revo RT handheld LiDAR scanner that produces 3D point clouds literally in minutes. Then the challenge was to efficiently extract geometry and features to create BIM models of the spaces to better communicate design intent to project stakeholders.

To accomplish this, Howard was provided with a trial of PointCab 3D Pro (now called Origins Pro), an easy-to-use, affordable point cloud editing and distribution tool recommended by the Design Solutions team at Seiler. He said, “In non-orthogonal areas like planetariums, the PointCab software allows me to freely tilt, rotate and magnify data points and orient perspectives.” With a combination of support from PointCab technicians, Seiler’s Revit support, and online resources, Howard was able to start modeling from the point cloud in a matter of days with the PointCab 4Revit plug-in. This allowed him to, in effect, simulate projector placement within the as-built context as well as quickly produce “vectorized” CAD schematics of the space and installation details. He said, “With the PointCab software, I do much less ‘telling’ and much more ‘showing.’”

Panoramic-view of the planetarium in PointCab Origins Pro

The potent combination of LiDAR scanning technology plus PointCab Origins Pro has profoundly affected the timeline and customer experience relative to these complex Projector installations. Howard said, “I’m given metric spherical coordinates from ZEISS to place projectors in relation to the dome. In PointCab Origins Pro, I export Cartesian imperial coordinates to place the projector stands on the floor. The PointCab software exports 2D images of 3D spaces, but sharing via PointCab Share (Freeware) or screen sharing via Zoom allows me to walk anyone through my process and show them whatever they want to see.” In merely a week, essential yet highly time-consuming tasks were radically reduced and transformed for the better for all project participants.

Projection targets on the dome over a vectorized 2D drawing of the planetarium

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