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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A "Practice Run"

On Sunday April 13th, we invited a couple of students to History Park to introduce them to the laser scanning process. Though new innovations in software development have resulted in less complicated, target free scanning and registration processes, we decided to do things in the traditional way. Using both paddles targets and paper targets we had the students layout and plot the scanning sequence. There were a total of nine scans taken of the Associated Oil Service Station as the first draft done by students of the Reality Capture Technology Training Center. Not only was this an introduction to the training for our students, it was an introduction to the hands on training process for us as well. We've had plenty of experience training adults and labor professionals however there was some concern about the process of training high school and community college students. Would we be able to engage them in the process and keep their attention and focus? Would they be intrigued by the processes and interested in learning more about the technology? Would they "get it"? The answer to all of these questions was a resounding YES! Not only did they understand the technology, their ability to see the various applications for the technologies was far beyond that of our adult students.
Photo Courtesy of History San Jose

Built in 1927, the Associated Oil Service Station was located at the corner of Market and Julian Street in San Jose

The Associated Oil Service Station documented at high resolution with
a Z&F 6000s Laser Scanner
This was a real pleasant surprise for us. That afternoon, we realized that our plans to create this unique hands-on technology experience for students was an attainable and timely goal. The enthusiasm we feel for the technology was mirrored by the students. Their ability to grasp the concepts, their curiosity and their desire to learn was truly inspirational for us. We recognized the need for STEAM programs and fresh
resources within our public schools. The question was could we provide those resources and help students and educators bridge the science and technology gap. We found our answer and our mission is clear. 

The July 2014 summer technology camp at will include both college interns and high school students. This will be the first of many week long camps that will combine learning, mentorship and community service opportunities for all participants; working with state of the art hardware and software, working in teams and preserving our local history.

Laser Scans of the Associated Oil Service Station by Aaron Rhetta of Evergreen Valley College
and Adam Rhetta of Bellarmine College Prep

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Reality Capture Laboratory

In addition to education and training programs, 
The Reality Capture Technology Training Center is a working laboratory that offers students, professionals and leaders in technology the opportunity to experiment, develop and display new techniques and workflows for today's preservation, as-built and geospatial technologies. The time tested application of these technologies for art, engineering and science are being used in a variety of disciplines and occupations. However, as the technology evolves, the possibilities for new applications and uses continue to expand. While the primary uses for mapping, construction, entertainment, forensic documentation and design are widely accepted, we are just beginning to recognize potential uses for the creation of new revenue streams. Reality capture technologies have implications in everything from advertisements and marketing to carbon credits for the reduction of green house emissions.

At NVentum, we see tremendous potential in combining various technologies to properly document and detail structures and environments. The dimensional detail offered by  laser scans, the clarity of HD photos and the flexibility of photogrammetry is key to opening unique, new documentation processes.
The following video combines the laser scans of the Peralta Adobe with HD photos of some of the items inside the historic structure. Though the software necessary to create such a model doesn't exist (yet), it is only a matter of time before this becomes a integral component of the documentation process.

This video model of the Peralta Adobe was created with the FARO 3D Focus Scanner, FARO SCENE software and HD photos provided by History San Jose. For details about FARO products and technology, contact Matt Daly of FARO Technologies at

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Reality of Reality Capture Technology

Registration for the June 21st Autodesk Photogrammetry Workshop at History Park opened two weeks ago. The training was specifically focused on teachers and administrators from throughout Santa Clara County. We targeted art, photography and STEM teachers with outreach efforts through the County Office of Education as well as contacts through San Jose State University, Stanford University, Evergreen Valley College and Santa Clara University. We had two original objectives for the program; 1) To train teachers to use the technology so they could take the lessons back to the classroom and share with their students. 2) Recruit teachers as volunteers and enhance our capacity for training at the Reality Capture Technology Training Center.
MEP Systems

As word of the training opportunity spread, we were surprised by the responses. Request for training began coming from people from a variety of places and varying disciplines. Our current list of registrants consist of crime scene investigators, homicide detectives, professional photographers, art instructors, museum curators, archivist, graduate school students, high school STEM teachers, middle school math teachers, school administrators, surveyors, MEP professionals and construction managers. The diversity of the registrants is indicative of the myriad applications of reality capture technology. From forensic documentation of accidents and crime scenes, to artistic renderings, historic preservation, BIM/green buildings, surveying and education, the applications for geospatial technology are far reaching and we are just beginning to scratch the surface.
As our programs progress, we intend on expand the number and variety of trainings offered to our community. Given the various interest, needs and uses for the technology, the Reality Capture Technology Training Center will develop specialized trainings utilizing the various software applications offered by Autodesk, FARO and other developers. Future trainings will feature programs like Revit, Maya, and FARO SCENE. These trainings will offer hands-on experience for professionals and students alike; for those who are looking to enter the job market and for others who are looking to enhance and update their current jobs skills.
Forensic Studies

The Reality Capture Technology Training Center is focused on expanding the impact of today's technology through education, workflow development and practical applications.