Utah engineers create a 3D model of the BYU campus

PROVO, Utah – 80,000 images. For example, a student from Brigham Young University (BYU) and his team came together to create a realistic 3D model of the BYU campus in Provo.

Bryce Berrett started the project in May 2020, not long after schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the three semesters of the spring and summer semester, we had the opportunity to fly the campus, which we didn’t have before, and were able to take a small snapshot and a 3D model,” says the civil engineering student.

This small snapshot included 29 separate drone flights over a period of 4 months.

Berrett said, “For each of these missions, we would line up about 5,000 or fewer photos at a time, and those pieces would then be merged using GPS data.”

He and his team used multiple computers running non-stop for about 3 months to process all of the images.

Now the researchers are exploring all of the different ways the model can be used.

Examples are future planning and campus tours in virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).

Berrett also said this 3D modeling technology can be used to mitigate earthquake hazards.

This means tracking down any possible weaknesses that need to be addressed.

“You can get a lot of data, you can assess a lot of risks, and we’re just beginning to see that big data like this is accessible,” Berrett said.

It can also be used to track changes over time to see what maintenance and major repairs need to be done.

You can see the full 3D campus model here.

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