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  • kansas city, mo
  • Captured: june 16, 2018

Case Studies:
accurate measurements

Elevating design with aerial imagery

With nearmap's lifelike HD-quality visuals and models, HNTB is able to impress clients with their accuracy and beat out the competition for new business
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Projects for architecture, construction and engineering require high-resolution aerial imagery to ensure accuracy and lifelike modeling. Because HNTB continuously seeks to improve its processes and service to clients, the firm needed to speed up both its accuracy in measurement and its overall efficiency in producing project models.


With the implementation of nearmap's  high-resolution imagery that is greater than 3” GSD, which is typically 4x sharper than satellite-based imagery, HNTB was able to implement the following improved workflow:

Locate—Using vertical imagery, team members are acquainted with the project site. This is especially useful when the project is out of state, minimizing the need for site visits.

Process—Because the team has access to the same accurate, georeferenced data through MapBrowser, they are all able to view and compare historical to current imagery, see time stamps, and export the imagery with gridded tiles for better integration into 3ds Max.

Integrate—By generating a digital surface model from the aerial imagery, HNTB professionals can detect variation in terrain which helps them provide more precise estimates for the client. 

Oblique images are imported into programs like 3ds Max, Map3d, Recap, InfraWorks and Civil 3-D to create a 3-D point cloud, which uses thousands of points to depict surfaces in a 3-D space. A point cloud can then be used to create a 3-D mesh, which connects the points with triangles to form a realistic-looking 3-D diagram of the area.

Then, in 3ds Max, team members can align imagery to 3ds Max origin, trace and texture terrain, curbs, sidewalks and buildings and match the lighting and shadows to the exact time of day to create the most realistic rendering possible. When finished, the visualization technician can export it into AutoCAD for other engineering teams.


With lifelike, HD-quality visuals and models, HNTB clients are impressed both by accuracy and beauty and can clearly envision the overall project result. 

As challenges that face the engineering industry will continue to change, HNTB’s commitment to new technology and information to serve clients does not.  With the use of the right tools, aerial imagery has elevated design tools and software, empowering engineers to make intelligent and collaborative choices.

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HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors in the architecture, construction and engineering fields. Celebrating 105 years of service, HNTB understands infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. HNTB employs more than 4,000 full-time professionals who deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management and construction management.


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