3D MODELLING IN CIVIL ENGINEERING
In the construction industry, projects must stay precise, timely, and safe. While that may sound relatively simple, what industry does not value those things? — the construction process is incredibly complex, with many moving parts. That’s why the benefits of 3D modeling in Construction are so numerous.
3D modeling refers to simulating 3D models that are now widely used in various industries. Motion pictures, video games, architecture, construction, product development, and medical industries use 3D models to visualize, simulate, and render graphic designs. And medical industries use 3D models to visualize, act, and render their offers.
THE HISTORY OF 3D MODELLING
The methods and technologies used today for 3D earthworks modeling would not exist without developments in civil surveying and various types of 3D modeling.
You can trace the history of 3D earthworks modeling back to ancient times. Ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids with early surveying techniques and used geometry to re-establish farmland boundaries after flooding along the Nile River. Civil surveying became a recognized profession in ancient Rome, and surveyors created measurement systems to evaluate and create records of conquered lands. Euclid, who is known as the founder of geometry and lived in ancient Greece, developed ideas that inspired much modern surveying and 3D modeling techniques.
Many years later, in the 1600s, French mathematician Rene Descartes invented analytic geometry — also called coordinate geometry — which is foundational to 3D earthworks modeling. Moving forward to the 18th century, European surveyors discovered they could use various angle measurements taken from different areas to identify a precise location — a technique known as triangulation. New surveying tools, such as measuring wheels, circumferentors, Kater’s compasses, and Gunter’s chains, began to gain popularity.
Meanwhile, English mathematicians James Joseph Sylvester and Arthur Cayley developed matrix mathematics, enabling today’s computer-generated images to display reflections or light distortions. Later, surveyors began to use steel bands and invar tapes. These tools eventually gave way to technologies such as electromagnetic distance measurement (EDM) and global positioning satellite (GPS) equipment. Surveyors switched from compasses to theodolites, which measured horizontal and vertical angles using a rotating telescope. They then transitioned to using total stations and electronic transit theodolites equipped with EDM technology.
These advancements enable them to measure both angles and distances. Then, the first commercially available computer-aided design (CAD) systems were released, which turned survey data into visual representations. The first 3D graphics company, Evans & Sutherland, appeared in 1968. Over the next several decades, CAD programs became more advanced and more widely available.
TYPES OF 3D MODELLING
The common types of 3D modeling include simple polygons, 3-D primitives — simple polygon-based shapes, such as pyramids, cubes, spheres, cylinders and cones, spline curves, and NURBS (nonuniform rational b-spline) — smooth shapes defined by bezel curves. These are relatively complex computationally.
BENEFITS OF 3D MODELLING
An accurate 3D model is essential to reaping these benefits, but there’s good news — accuracy isn’t difficult to achieve once you understand the basics. Here’s how 3D modeling can help at every stage in a project lifecycle.
Using 3D modeling and rendering helps improve the design and material utilization, as 3D models can be spun around to show a variety of perspectives and views.
- Calculate ground leveling, foundation pouring, and other preparation work costs.
- Simulate weather effects, such as the potential for flooding
- A faster design process
- Accurate representation of physical dimensions of the objects and their distance from other things in the layout, helping adjust open space, foot traffic challenges, room size changes, etc.
- Opportunities for architects to experiment with different ideas and identify potential design challenges early on
- Realistic virtual views of the finished project before construction begins.
During construction, 3D models ensure that projects stay on track and on time. You can easily compare the current state of your worksite and any pre-work survey. You can also overlay linework to compare your site surface to the projected texture to ensure the site looks as it should be reached to plan.
Using drones, contractors can survey a construction site in two minutes. Then, with automated data processing, you can automatically compare current scans with 3D models of the projected completion. If recent surveys don’t match your launched models as they should, you can review any changes and make modifications as needed before the project gets too far off track.
Once a project is complete, a site’s 3D models can be archived for use later. They will come in handy whenever the construction project needs to be modified, retrofitted, updated, or extended. Through cloud-based data services, you can keep everything you might need to reference again without taking up space on your servers, and you can access it from anywhere in the world.
New additions can be inserted directly into 3D models to simulate how they impact the overall project before any dirt is moved. It’s a virtual test run that can save thousands of dollars.
Accurate 3D modeling allows your data to live on and remain accessible for future use. Architects, engineers, and subcontractors can review as many scenarios as they need regarding potential changes in the project before they act, and information about the surrounding terrain and improvements remain accessible.
BEST 3D MODELLING SOFTWARE TOOLS
The range of 3D modeling software programs on the market to choose and pick from is massive. All3D modeling software programs let you design your essential character or object models. Complete featured programs offer you the tools to flesh out the design with lifelike details. Not all applications are equally capable, however. Some provide more tools and features specific to certain fields. SketchUp, Revit Architecture, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, and 3D Studio Max are a few examples of software that we can use in our projects.