Provo, Utah — A Brigham Young University (BYU) student and his team stitched 80,000 images together to make a realistic 3D model of BYU’s campus in Provo.
Not long after schools were locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bryce Berrett started the project in May of 2020.
“For those three semesters of spring and summer term, we had an opportunity to fly the campus, which we wouldn’t have before, and that allowed us to take a little snapshot and a 3D model,” said the Civil Engineering student.
That little snapshot amounted to 29 separate drone flights over a 4-month period.
“For each of those missions, we would align about 5,000 or fewer photos at a time and those chunks would then merge together using GPS data,” Berrett said.
To process all of the images, he and his team used multiple computers for about 3 months, running non-stop. Now researchers are looking into all the different ways the model can be used.
Examples include future planning and campus tours done in Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR).
According to Berrett, this 3D model-making technology can be used for earthquake hazard mitigation. This means tracking any potential weak points that need to be fixed.
“You can get a lot of data, you can assess a lot of risks, and it’s something that we’re just beginning to see in our day now that big data like this can be accessible,” said Berrett.
The project can also be used to track changes over time to see what maintenance and extensive repairs need to be done.