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HNTB Streamlines Design

High-Res Aerial Images Elevating Design

Using quality 2D aerial imagery and photorealistic 3D cityscapes, HNTB is able to impress clients and edge out the competition for new business.

“Assessing orthographic and panoramic views, the ability to measure slopes and footprints of buildings, and to accurately measure building height — that all used to be guesswork for us. Nearmap gives us the ability to get data we want when we want it, 24/7, and at a phenomenal level of detail.”

Austin Reed3D Visualization Team Lead
HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields. Celebrating 105 years of service, HNTB understands infrastructure and addresses its clients’ most complex technical, financial, and operational challenges. HNTB employs more than 4,000 full-time professionals who deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management, and construction management solutions.

The Challenge at a glance

Fast, Accurate Visual Design

HNTB has used outdated, low-resolution satellite imagery, making it difficult to create accurate models of projects. The georeferenced data was lost when bringing images GIS/CAD applications, a critical problem because all teams were not working within the same coordinated space.
Operating inside a competitive landscape, the company needed to improve its accuracy in measurement and overall efficiency in producing project models.
“To win business, we have to be faster, more efficient, and do it better,"  noted James Pageau, Senior Media Design Leader at HNTB.

The Solution at a glance

Design with Altitude

With the implementation of Nearmap 2.2"-3" (5.5cm-7.5cm) GSD aerial imagery - multiple times sharper than free satellite imagery - HNTB was able to implement an improved workflow.
Oblique images are imported into programs like 3ds Max, Map3D, Recap, InfraWorks, and Civil 3D to create a 3D point cloud. The point cloud can then be used to create a 3D mesh.
Then, in 3ds Max, team members can align imagery to 3ds Max origin, trace and texture terrain, curbs, sidewalks and buildings and match the lighting and shadows to the exact time of day to create the most realistic rendering possible. When finished, the visualization technician can export it into AutoCAD for other engineering teams.

Business Impact

With photo-realistic, high-res visuals and models, HNTB impresses its clients with accuracy and beauty and can clearly showcase the overall project impact. Their use of imagery allows them to:
Locate Using Vertical imagery, team members become acquainted with the project site. This is especially useful when the project is out of state, minimising the need for site visits.
Process Because the team has access to the same accurate, georeferenced data through MapBrowser, they are able to view and compare historical with current imagery, see timestamps, and export the imagery with gridded tiles for better integration into 3ds Max.
Integrate By generating a digital surface model from the aerial imagery, HNTB professionals can detect variation in terrain which helps them provide more precise estimates for the client.

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