Virtual Design Analysis Group is a division of NVentum, LLC.

This unique collaborative endeavor; to utilize the latest reality capture technology to document the artifacts, buildings and campus of History San Jose, provides opportunities for private sector, non-profits and institutions of higher education to work together to solve some of today's most pressing engineering issues. The protocol for retrofitting as-built historic facilities and the use of new technologies to preserve our most prized historic treasures are vital to the continued success and expanded influence of our museums.
This blog will document the challenges and successes of this ambitious, one of a kind project.

Friday, June 29, 2012

2D Floor Plans in a 3D World

HP Pavilion
No matter how new or "modern" the venue, no matter the location or reputation of the facility, they all have one thing in common that remains unchanged and practically unquestioned by the public; the "Dreaded" 2D floor plan. Unquestioned even though it is something most people would agree is the most primitive of the acceptable practices that still exist in the operation of public assembly venues.
How many times have you planned to attend an event at a world class venue and decided to check their webpage to preview their seating chart only to find an indecipherable mess? It makes no difference what venue you choose; convention centers, theaters, arenas, auditoriums, churches, hotels, they all share the same problem; terrible 2D floor plans and seating charts.

HP Pavilion
Seating Chart
It may sound silly to complain about 2D diagrams and charts. After all, 2D floor plans have been the standard for communicating/documenting the physical and spatial information of buildings for centuries. Though this a fact, these types of seating charts have always been a source of frustration for me as both a facility manager and as a facility user. It's a given that choosing seats for an event or concert is anything but a science however with the cost of tickets, parking, food and "swag" at these events, the last thing you want is some unforeseen drama when you finally get to your seats. Arriving at your seats to find your view is partially obstructed or that the crowds from the concessions stands are backed-up to your seating area can completely ruin your night.
This is especially true for members of the disabled community. The adoption of ADA legislation of the early 1990's has provided for the inclusion of safe, accessible seating arrangements. However, many venues still lack a pre-designated seating area therefore arrangements, number of reserved seats and location may changed for each event and/or performance.

Shoreline Amphitheater

This has been a problem since people started using seating charts to plan and market events and performances. Years ago, I produced these seating charts on drafting boards; eventually, I graduated to AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT to enhance my craft. In other words, I'm not trying to "bash" the 2D environment that helped me put food on the family table.What I am saying is today's technology allows us to provide much more information to our clients, customers and guest, while allowing feedback and analyzing data that can help reduce operating cost for the building owner.

Shoreline Amphitheater is one of the great concert venues in the Western United States. As the picture shows, the venue is clean, the setting is spectacular and the seating arrangement provides clear unobstructed views. However, when clients/customers search the web for "Shoreline Amphitheater Seating Charts", what turns up doesn't quite tell the same story.
Shoreline Amphitheater Seating Chart

This problem certainly isn't tied to the HP Pavilion and Shoreline Amphitheater. As I said before, this is -and has been- the standard methodology for disseminating spatial information about public assembly venues since recorded time.

Today's Technology Upgrades For Public Assembly Venues
There is time for a change in the industry standards.
What if guest could visit the webpage for the Shoreline Amphitheater and enter a virtual model of the facility? The virtual model would allow the visitor to enter a 3D environment, walk to the seat of his/her choice, sit down and view the venue from the perspective of the guest in that seat? How could/would this affect the marketing and/or sales for a venue?  What if these online, virtual public facilities mimicked what was happening in the real world? Is this a gadget or a useful tool? 

For Attendees, Exhibitors,Guest and Show Managers:
49er's Santa Clara Stadium
Seating Chart
Could you imagine attending the SEMA Convention in Las Vegas via a 3D model of the facility? Anyone who couldn't afford to travel to the convention could still see and visit some of their favorite exhibitors and booths. What if exhibitors supplement the "live" attendance with the attendees from a virtual convention? Instead of 200,000 attendees, exhibitors could draw over 2,000,000 attendees; potential business/sales contacts. From a show management/exhibitor's perspective, the show can continue in the virtual world as long as you'd like; more exposure, more leads, more sales. Marketing and sales specialist have another tools for reaching the masses.     

I started thinking about this idea in 2000, after being introduced to laser scanning technology by Ken Hanna. At that time, there was still quite a few technological hurdles to be overcome but I was confident that within 5 years things would be far enough along to move forward with the idea. A couple of years ago, I came across a patent that was written by someone and dated in 2003. The patent request discusses the concept of online conventions, exhibits, sales, etc. As you may imagine, I was a bit disappointed to see that someone had already started the patent process however I recognize the opportunity at hand..

The possibilities are endless. It all starts with the creation and development of the 3D As-Built Model.

For Building Operators/Owners:
Why is this technology so important for public facility operators? 
There is a critical need for more information about how our buildings operate and how we can make them operate more efficiently. There is technology on the market that can and will revolutionize the way we collect, store and share information about public facilities. Owners can recognize savings through energy reduction and strategic maintenance plans; BIM technology is the key.

What if the virtual model of the Las Vegas Convention Center I described was actually a BIM? What if the building owner/operators could access, adjust and monitor the buildings environmental and security systems via the 3D model? What if access to the BIM could be made via a Smart Phone or other mobile device? What if the facility was able to monitor its' performance, make adjustments to maximize efficiency, anticipate maintenance problems, communicate with third party vendors to insure timely response to repair concerns?

The possibilities are endless. It all starts with the creation and development of the 3D As-Built Model.

This is not SciFi, this is today's BIM technology. For many people, BIM technology is SciFi. A major goal of the "Capturing History" project(s) is to help demonstrate the benefits of this technology. The development of the 3D model is just the beginning of what can be achieved with this technology; it is the foundation of NVentum's standard for BIM.

SJ Civic Auditorium Floor Plan
Even The Historic Civic Auditorium
Can't Elude the "notorious" 2D Floor Plan

Check out this scan of Wembley Stadium by Digital Surveys, U.K. This 3D model represents the future of online floor plans and seating charts for convention centers, theaters, arenas, stadiums, hotels, museums and all public assembly venues. Check out the attached video and think about the possibilities....

"Using a Scanstation2 3d laser scanner, Digital setup in the middle of the stadium and carried out a 360 degree scan over 3 hours."...from Digital Surveys webpage


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