Precise Images of Buildings That 3D Scanning Enables by Scott Page Design
3D scanning—though it’s been around since the 1960s—has been in the news of late, with Harvard using the technology to recreate ancient statues and MakerBot announcing a desktop scanner last month. But cheaper, faster, and more accessible 3D scanners aren’t just revolutionizing how we print terrifying models of our own faces. They’re also changing how we understand the city.
A fascinating story about urban-scale 3D scanning published on the Atlantic Cities this week explores how a Bay Area architect named Scott Page is using a 3D scanner to generate super-accurate models of historic and dilapidated buildings.
Page’s system takes a series of photographs and patches them together based on how light bounces off each surface. Rather than taking weeks to survey an old building, architects can now generate precise dimensions in just a few hours. Because the scanner uses color photographs, the models are also incredibly beautiful, expressive documents—Page compares them to the first photographs ever made. “There is a magical quality to point cloud imagery, similar to the earliest photos that froze time onto small metallic plates,” he writes on his website.