3D Scans and X-Ray Vision

As the world has become more digital, so has the world of architecture and design. Especially within the last year, the industry has embraced technology that allows us to quickly and seamlessly collaborate with cross-functional teams, clients and sub-contractors.

One of our essential tools for achieving digital collaboration: Matterport, an all-in-one, visual data platform that allows SHP architects and designers to see inside a building—literally. The technology uses a highly sensitive, tripod-mounted camera to stitch dozens of 360-degree photos together to form a 3D digital “twin” of the built environment. Think Google Earth, inside a building! Scans are up to 99% accurate, lending a specificity that plain ol’ photographs just can’t achieve. And because the technology is cloud-based, our team can view projects, streamline documentation and collaborate with ease from anywhere in the world.

“This is the closest thing we can get to having everyone on-site at once,” said Vern Hendrickson, Director of Technology at SHP. “It puts everybody on the same playing field, which allows us to collaborate much more effectively and efficiently.”

“A 3D digital twin of the floorplan for SHP's headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

What Is Matterport?

Matterport is a leading spatial data company focused on digitizing and indexing the built world. With three different camera models, cloud-based hosting services and even an iPhone app, the company is revolutionizing the way SHP’s architects and designers visualize our work.

“Matterport, for us, is not client-specific. This has really just become our process,” Vern explained. “Historically, we would visit a site with our cameras to capture as much of the building as we could. But there’s only so much that a human with a camera can capture. Even though we’d taken hundreds of site photos, ultimately, we would miss things. With Matterport, we don’t miss much.”

Why We Love It

SHP architects and designers use Matterport technology to scan every inch of our projects with astounding detail. The 360-degree camera can capture an entire room in an instant and render it in 4K. The technology can even transform 2D images into an immersive 3D experience at a moment’s notice.

“The level of accuracy and impressiveness is not something you find every day,” Vern said.

This enables our staff to view the entire project, make design choices, develop more accurate technical drawings and collaborate across our team via an interactive 3D model from one of SHP’s home offices, without having to be on-site. This saves our team time and money.

According to Vern, one of the greatest benefits of using Matterport technology is the ability to have “x-ray vision” once clients have moved into a space that SHP designed (Click here for a behind-the-scenes view into SHP’s very own Cincinnati headquarters). On one recent project, our team took a Matterport scan midway through construction, when the bones of the space were in place but the drywall hadn’t yet been installed.

“Nearing the end of this project, we noticed we had some missing outlets,” said Hendrickson. “So we went back to our Matterport scan. With this ability to see what was behind walls, we were able to determine whether the conduit and electrical box were in place. They were, so we took a measurement from the scan, and were able to cut a hole at the exact right spot, rather than taking a guess.”

Matterport technology has changed the game of architecture and design. With its help, SHP is helping to shape the future of the industry and create a better future for clients and communities alike.

“SHP used Matterport technology to make a 3D digital twin of its headquarters at 312 Plum Street. The scan, taken while construction was underway, created an x-ray vision look into the space.”