‘Augmented Reality’ Peers Below The Surface: Technology Could Revolutionize Underground Engineering, Design, Construction

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | October 2013, Vol. 68 No. 10

Positioning and achieving the correct perspective of all features is a huge challenge for software designers. The international research and best practices organization, Fiatech, published an in-depth report in April of this year that took a critical look at augmented reality, its viability, its business case and barriers to wide scale adoption. Their findings support the assertion that augmented reality will create a paradigm shift in the engineering and construction industries but not until more robust software integration is developed.

Wallbom stressed that data fusion is not a trivial matter, but man has been to the moon and back and can land things on rocks out in the cosmos.

“I’m sure,” he said, “that as really smart people begin to apply their skills on all of the related issues such as object recognition, perspective issues and data capture and delivery methods and means are addressed, the faster this paradigm shift will take place.”

UIT’s role is providing underground infrastructure data. “We will be the people who ‘feed’ the beasts with one ‘beast’ being GIS programs that have an insatiable need for more and more data, and the other ‘beast’ being people who see this technology in action and say to themselves: ‘I have to have one of those,’ ” Wallbom said. “Once engineers and contractors get used to using smart devices to actually visualize the layout of a new project, the world as we know it will never be the same.”

Wallbom said he has no doubt that augmented reality and the second tier technologies that are supportive of it will create a paradigm on the order of what the PC was to mainframe computers.

“The boat has sailed,” he concluded. “The train has left the station and if you want a seat on either, it’s best to get on board quickly before it is out of sight.”


Underground Imaging Technologies, (407) 271-8911, http://uit-systems.com
VTN, (702) 873-7550, www.vtnnv.com

Making A 3D Utility Map

How are various elements consolidated to provide a virtual 3D map showing buildings, streets, and underground infrastructure and objects?

Underground Imaging Technologies CEO Mark Wallbom explains. “Everything has to have a starting point followed by milestones along the way. In the case of surveying, geodetic survey markers are used to create other control points that are in turn used by survey crews to establish an exact physical location of an object at a given elevation.

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