The Re/Cap – Issue #9: Volcanic Mapping + Depression-Era Park Preservation + Photo5Grammetry?

Hola! It’s Re/Cappin’ day Re/Cappers!

This weekly communication shall shortly touch on telecommunication, a rather unsung champion of reality capture. Whether it’s Ericsson and Vodafone UK partnering to drone survey for network upgrades years ago, or Verizon betting big on digital twins nearly four years ago, telecoms have BEEN privy to reality capture.

But you know those companies. You know the AT&Ts, Telefónicas, and Deutsche Telekoms of the world. What you may not know, is that a mapping behemoth is behind almost all of their forays into 5G – HERE Technologies.

This Dutch multinational group and preeminent location platform went from an acquisition by Audi, BMW & Daimler, to in driver navigation usage, to being the lifeblood of the 5G rollout. All thanks to their millions of kilometers worth of 3D LiDAR data. And with that…
What’s Cappenin’ This Week: Icelandic volcanoes ignite mapping, Depression-era structures get preserved, Verizon wants drones to be storm chasers, McKinsey weighs in on digital twins, and an AEC Error of the Week that travels Down Under, where a budget proved to be anything but!

Last week on governments loving digital twins, a BIM Bird Paradise, a 3D App going big on AR, and a present day AEC Error of the Week in San Francisco, California.

Leave Plenty of Trace: State Park Preservation via Photogrammetry & LiDAR

Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park is much more than foliage, creeks and newts; it’s a time capsule, home to three structures built by the Depression-era’s Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal. And unlike most other preservation projects, their biggest threat isn’t decay.

It’s fire.
South Fall Lodge, a historical wooden building at Silver Falls State Park, set among dark green trees
The South Falls Lodge, fixin’ to get ‘capped. Image credit Blake Brown.
The Pacific Northwest has been no stranger to summer blazes, and projections show it will only be more susceptible with time. So researchers at Oregon State University are putting technology to use, ensuring local history won’t fade into obscurity.

Iceland, a Hotbed of Lava Becoming a Hotbed of Mapping

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History operates a photogrammetry lab, and boy do they got much bigger (and hotter) fish to fry than old viking camps.
Rapid aerial photogrammetry with high-precision gnss geo-referencing
Iceland, one of Earth’s premier reminders of nature’s beauty…and ferocity. Image credit PhaseOne.
The catch with volcanic eruptions is their ripple effect. From colossal plumes to savage weather, extreme conditions practically become a given. But precise GNSS geo-referencing is empowering experts to monitor volcanic and seismic activity like never before. Click below for the Scandinavian scoop on digital elevation models, orthoimages, 3D mesh, and preventing fatalities.

When and Why to Use Digital Twins

McKinsey & Company is to the planet’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions what The Oracle is to folks in The Matrix.

So when they speak on digital twins, y’otta listen.
The Matrix Oracle telling Neo he was not the one
POV: McKinsey telling you you’re doing business all wrong. Image credit ScreenRant.
They’re in the midst of a three-part blog series devoted to our beloved cyber siblings. Most recently, they honed in on judicious decision-making and evaluation before a twin is even born. Enjoy the read from a powerhouse of wisdom, and catch the series’ first blog on digital twins & AI, immediately following it.

Photo5Grammetry? Verizon & Drones to Get One Up on Storms.

Verizon Frontline is the carrier’s network devoted to first responders. And now, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is complementing it in a three-year collaboration.
A tornado churns up dust in the sunset light near Traer Iowa
“Can you hear me now?” Definitely not in this thing! Image credit NOAA.
The duo will dispatch photogrammetric drones to areas impacted by severe storms, augmenting disaster response by rapidly assessing magnitude, gathering damage data, predicting tornado pathing, and more. It’s high-res data in hours versus what used to be days, with the ultimate endgame being better, faster warnings.


Aerial photo of Sydney Opera House under construction
Will the Sydney Opera House make budget? Falsetto! Image credit School of Industrial Organization.
The Sydney Opera House, a present-day architectural masterpiece and former construction catastrophe rolled into one.

When the ambitious project kicked off in 1959, it was supposed to be a four-year, $7 million build. Instead, it became a crescendo of delays, blunders, and budget blasphemy that makes Wagnerian operas look like Spotify singles.

Redesigns, underestimates, cost overruns. A six-year problem involving the iconic shells. Less risk assessment than a Jackass episode. It’s no wonder costs ballooned from $7 million to a jaw-dropping $102 million.

Now, let’s rewind and imagine this debacle Down Under being tackled with modern reality capture, BIM, and digital twin technologies. 3D laser scans could’ve precisely tracked construction progress, identifying discrepancies between the physical build and digital models. Virtual rehearsals, if you will, enabling clash detection, design reviews, and coordinated decision-making before problems compounded.

And when changes were unavoidable, as they often are, the digital twin would have provided a real-time unified source of truth to simulate impacts, explore options, and optimize solutions collaboratively.

While the Opera House’s design obstacles and budget arias may have ultimately produced an artistic triumph, applying reality capture could’ve struck a much smoother chord at keeping this iconic project on key and on schedule.

Mini Re/Caps, Podcasts, and Media

Happy capturing, and we’ll see you in next week’s Re/Cap! If you liked what you just read, a share will do the industry a built-world of good! 

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