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Air Force plans 3D scans of facilities

The Air Force wants high-resolution 3D scans of the interiors and exteriors of its facilities so it can give civil engineers, firefighters and medical responders greater insight into the condition of buildings before and during emergencies.

A pilot project at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Alaska and Hill Air Force Base Utah aims to build a standard for capturing 3D facility/infrastructure scans and developing repeatable models that can be used across the Air Force enterprise. Officials expect the 3D scans and point-cloud models to reduce manual work, assist with training and increase the accuracy of facility condition assessments  -- all while helping fire and emergency services plan events response, according to a July 9 solicitation.

The contractor would scan 40 facilities at the two locations and provide complete, interactive 3D models, 360-degree photos and colorized point clouds of designated facilities’ infrastructure. Eventually, the system should be able to acquire data at a walking speed, use field hardware/software to manipulate the data and compare newly acquired images to historical data.

The resulting solution should be intuitive and easy to use, available on the Air Force network and not require the target non-technical users to install specialized hardware or software.  Users should be able to zoom in and out, rotate the model, take measurements, redact sensitive information and export images and point clouds of the interior spaces of facilities. Anticipated features include the ability to generate and export documents such as floorplans or elevations, tag areas of interest with additional text and compare chronological data across versions. 

Eventually, the Air Force wants internal staff to be able to create and use the industry-standard 3D models at all Air Force installations.

“The Air Force intends to obtain ‘innovative’ solutions or potential new capabilities that fulfill requirements, close capability gaps, or provide potential technology advancements,” the solicitation said.

This article first appeared on GCN, a Defense Systems partner site.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

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