The user in the field sends a photo taken with the Plex.Earth360 mobile app to show the current view of the site.
The photo is instantly received by the remote user connecting through the Plex.Earth360 web application, at the office.
The project designer sends instructions to the field agent to go to a specific position and gather data...
...and the new location (along with the instructions and other data, such as distance to the position), shows up in the field agent’s app
Checking information about surrounding places of interest, in Augmented Reality (AR) mode
Working with engineers in the construction sector for the past 10 years, and as a software company providing tools to expedite the design process of large projects worldwide, we wanted to develop an app that would efficiently bridge the gap between the office and the field.
The initial prototype of Plex.Earth360 was presented during the Autodesk Cloud Accelerator in Prague (Sep. 2015). There we had the chance to evaluate its prospects and to outline the technologies we needed to develop in order to come up with a fully-functioning product among them a solid infrastructure for data exchange, real-time collaboration and Augmented Reality
The BIM360 Hackathon was an opportunity for us to realize this project, as BIM360 provides a complete environment for storage and user management - an integral part of Plex.Earth360.
What it does
It facilitates real-time cooperation between designers, field agents or any other partly involved, at every stage of the design, construction and operation of AEC projects.
- It allows them to share geolocated photos, placemarks, comments and further geospacial data quickly and efficiently, both in map and in AR mode.
- Displays to the field agents (in AR mode) important information about points of interest around them, such as cities, mountain peaks, even restaurants, cafes etc.
How we built it
Plex.Earth360 consists of three major interconnected parts:
- The mobile client ('field side'), which allows users to connect and collaborate from within the Augmented Reality environment (which is based on the Unity engine) through their smartphones
- The web application ('office side'), which allows users to connect and collaborate through their browsers.
- The cloud service, hosted in Azure, which performs the synchronization between the connected clients and BIM360.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
(To the best of our knowledge) This is the first app that provides engineers on the field with such a comprehensive set of tools for data retrieval and real-time collaboration in an AR environment.
What's next for Plex.Earth360
We plan to integrate Plex.Earth360 with our flagship Plex.Earth platform (preferred by more than 2000 companies worldwide) to add the real-time collaboration and AR aspects to the existing geospatial data processing functionality. We aspire to take project planning and development to a whole new level in terms of speed, cost-reduction and team interconnection.