Automatic Floor Plan Generation

Automatic Floor Plan Generation

Reality Capture for Architecture

Having recently paired up with Kaarta, who quite frankly has some amazing industry changing technology, we felt it was necessary to document some of the potential applications which were now available.

One of the more intriguing applications we could think of is the ability to generate floor plans ‘on-the-fly’ and so we thought we would put the Contour to the test.

After some training, we felt as though I was confident enough with the device to use it in anger.  The Contour itself contains a very advanced software engine with features such as:-

  • Pause / Resume
  • Rewind
  • Key-Pose Saving
  • Baseline Mapping

Kaarta Contour
which once understood properly, unlock a significant amount of functionality that can be used to capture almost anything.  It almost sounds too good to be true; but it isn’t. So with the Contour in hand off we went and mapped a house in the local vicinity.  The house itself was a Queenslander, which are quite common in the area and well known for their intricate  structure.  This one in particular had received a number of extensions over the years and so it was certainly putting the Contour to the test.

Beginning the acquisition process, we decided to take a ‘base-map’ first in order to increase the accuracy.  We casually strolled through the property ensuring that there was good coverage the intended areas. The initial process took about 10 minutes.  We also made sure to take added ‘key-poses’ at points of interest.

After taking the initial map we started again at the first ‘key-pose’ this time taking a bit more care to ensure that the final map was generated with significant confidence.  It is probably worth mentioning that the capture trajectory is non-trivial to the outcome of the final point-cloud accuracy and that it is important to identify important environmental factors before beginning the capture. 3DX offers extensive training to all of our customers to ensure that they know how to repeatedly generate optimal reality captures.

Queenslander reality capture

Queensland back reality capture
The second round of capture took approximately 15 minutes taking care in areas of branching. After the second pass had been completed we saved the point cloud to a USB stick on the fly which took a few more minutes. Once we arrived back at the office it was time to review the point cloud quickly in CloudCompare.  This is an important step for any professional design process as it allows any issues to be picked up early.  Our general advice would also be that due to the ease of mobility of the Contour, we would recommend taking a more extensive capture on-site as it is always very easy to cut out irrelevant points quickly in the post-processing stage. For mapping areas which contain a number of reflective surfaces, we would also recommend running the SOR filter in CloudCompare before beginning any orthogonal axis re-alignment however in this case it wasn’t required.

After some quick post-processing the point cloud was ready for consumption into PointCab.  PointCab is another truly amazing product with the ability to consume any point cloud out of the box and in soft real-time generate a floor plan and orthographic elevations.  We downloaded the trial version for the purposes of test driving it for this article and were thoroughly impressed with the value that it offers.

PointCab – Floor Plan
The floor plan is generated literally right out of the box with matching elevations ready to go. Calculations such as:-

  • Area
  • Volume
  • Angle

are available easily made and so we would definitely recommend this as workflow improvement for any modern innovative architect.