3D reality model of HNTB headquarters in Kansas City, MO - 16 June 2018

Elevating 3D Visualization to beat the Competition

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

16 June 2018 | Kansas City, MO
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 Reed, 3D 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

Previously, Momentum Solar used satellite imagery from multiple sources to assess, or qualify, houses and duplexes for solar panels. On top of that, they were using a completely different program to plan and virtually place solar panels.

In addition to being time intensive due to switching between multiple image sources, the team at Momentum Solar had no reliable way of viewing the same property in multiple seasons. This made it difficult to accurately qualify a house before sending a technician for an on-site assessment. For instance, if a satellite image of a home was taken in wintertime, there was no way of knowing whether tree leaves would block too much of a roof to make solar a viable option for the customer.

High-def oblique aerial view of commercial construction site in Atlanta, GA - 26 May 2019 Oblique View of Commercial Construction Site - Atlanta, GA
High-def aerial view of construction site in Los Angeles, CA - 26 June 2019 Aerial Map of Construction Site - Los Angeles, CA
The Solution at a glance

Design with Altitude

With the implementation of Nearmap 5.8-7.5cm 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, minimizing 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. 

High-res oblique aerial view map of interesting architectural design in San Antonio, TX - 1 Dec. 2018 Oblique View of Architectural Design - San Antonio, TX
3D model of Logan Circle in Philadelphia, PA - Mar 14, 2019
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