The Future of Survey Equipment in Movies and Television

terrestrial laser scanner, mobile mapping systems, survey equipment

The Future of Survey Equipment in Movies and Television

HBO’s Game of Thrones by David Benioff and D.B Weiss broke the mould for multiple industries and revolutionised both the way the once humble television show is made and received by audiences. How did they turn a series of complex books into the biggest thing to happen in TV this century? The genius lies in the fantasy of it all and how real they were able to make it appear. This is largely due to the abilities of evolved terrestrial laser scanners and mobile mapping systems initially developed as high-end survey equipment.

Recreating the Past with Survey Equipment

Before being used as a revolutionary tool in the entertainment industry, surveying equipment, like mobile mapping systems, was used to try to put the pieces of history back together. A study done by the National Research Council of Canada did exactly that with their paper called Using Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Digital Images for 3D Modeling of the Erechteion, Acropolis of Athens.

Another group had used computer animation to piece back together with the missing pieces of The Parthenon virtually. These were used to make 3D prints displayed in museums so that visitors can see what the monument was in its ancient heyday. This image-based rendering shed new light on historical architecture that changed historical insights and made this information publically tangible.

Genius Use of Terrestrial Laser Scanners

The use of terrestrial scanners and using image-based rendering based on multiple photographs can create texture and spatial depth. These effects cannot be realised with regular film equipment, especially if the building or site is no longer fully intact, or there at all.

This can also be used in a film like when telling stories of ancient heroes said to have stood in the halls of these buildings. With the image-based rendering made possible by survey equipment, 3D reconstruction on screen is made possible. It is the ancient (and tragic) equivalent of filling the New York skyline with the, now missing, Twin Towers when telling a story that takes place before September 11, 2001.

Starting a Revolution of Imagery with Mobile Mapping Systems

The use of terrestrial laser scanners and 3D images can help for route planning like that done by the Mars Rover in the Mars Pathfinder Mission. This saves time and money when scientists can differently visualise the movements of a space vehicle that cannot afford to get stuck or lost.

Virtual tours of spaces and virtual reality will also hugely benefit from the broadened use of survey equipment like terrestrial laser scanner and mobile mapping systems. One day we will all be watching movies and television like we are right there witnessing it, complete with visual data never able to be rendered before.

Now that Game of Thrones has changed the game by creating something new from the existing architecture. The fictional King’s Landing was pieced together from scans and 3D images taken of Old Town, Dubrovnik using Maverick Mobile Systems and Polaris terrestrial laser scanners. Anything in film and television has been made viable by survey equipment in the form of terrestrial laser scanners and mobile mapping systems.

Contact us at Afgen to learn more about our range of survey equipment that can be used successfully across multiple industries and disciplines.

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