Linking Scanned Data to Simulation

As simulation usage grows in architectural design, engineering teams must develop low-cost, high-accuracy solutions to generate solid models of buildings for city-scale modeling. Recent developments in remote sensing technology offer rapid, high-density 3-D data collection options - specifically terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), which directs a beam over terrain or building surfaces. Availability of this data created the opportunity to develop technology that automatically reconstructs the solid models. Such a tool would make the simulation process automatic, seamless and robust. It would rule out reliance on measured drawings or photographs to construct the exterior geometry of the model; it would avoid possible data corruption from using a CAD-based program as an intermediary.

Thus the School of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University College in Dublin, Ireland, developed the FacadeVoxel algorithm to automatically generate solid models of masonry building facades from TLS data. Engineers can load the geometric model directly into ANSYS structural mechanics software to set up finite element analysis for a wide variety of civil engineering applications. The effect of tunneling on surface structures is a timely issue, so the university chose this as an example of how users can apply the algorithm to structural simulation.

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