Utah engineers make a 3D model of BYU's campus

Model-making tech used in this project can also be used for earthquake mitigation
Posted at 11:22 AM, Dec 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-12 13:22:03-05

PROVO, Utah — 80,000 images. That's how many a Brigham Young University (BYU) student and his team stitched together to make a realistic 3D model of BYU's campus in Provo.

Bryce Berrett started the project in May of 2020, not long after schools were locked down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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.

Berrett said, "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."

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

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).

Berrett also said 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.

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

You can see the full 3D campus model here.