Workstations

Humanitarian Outreach + Design Technology = Saved Lives

20 Apr, 2017 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

In Nepal and around the globe, Build Change is teaching locals how to recover from natural disaster — and how to survive the next one.


 

The team then used Autodesk ReCap 360 reality-capture software to process the collected images and generate photo-based point clouds and dense surface models (DSM), as well as orthophoto maps. Using Autodesk InfraWorks 360, point clouds become the basis of bare-earth surface models used to measure the volume of rubble in areas with damaged buildings, and for digital surface models to generate topographical maps. Engineers used Autodesk ReMake to convert reality-captured photos into high-definition 3D meshes that can be cleaned up and transformed into animated 3D video of the project site.

 

This high-resolution orthophoto map of a Nepalese village was generated from drone images. The map helps locals understand the current distribution of housing patterns as well as view road expansion plans, so homeowners realize that they should leave a certain distance between new construction and the road centerline. (Source: Build Change)
This high-resolution orthophoto map of a Nepalese village was generated from drone images. The map helps locals understand the current distribution of housing patterns as well as view road expansion plans, so homeowners realize that they should leave a certain distance between new construction and the road centerline. (Source: Build Change)

 

Finally, the team uses AutoCAD Civil 3D to generate contours from the surface models. It relies on Autodesk Revit to create all 3D building models and detailed engineering plans, as well as 3D renderings.

All that compute- and graphics-intensive software demands substantial computing power, and Build Change engineers and architects are using Lenovo ThinkStation P510 desktop workstations and ThinkPad P70 mobile workstations. Ideal for architectural work, the ThinkStation P510 has a single high-speed Intel Xeon CPU and customizable memory and storage capacity, plus high-end professional NVIDIA Quadro graphics to support 3D rendering. The similarly equipped ThinkPad P70 also offers a large 4K display and portability; MIL-SPEC testing ensures optimal performance even at a rugged job site. Both systems are ISV certified by Autodesk, meaning they have been tested to ensure stable, reliable software support.

Uttam Pudasaini, a Nepalese geomatics engineer working with Build Change, explained, "We use the workstations across all project areas. It makes us so much more efficient. With the ThinkPads, we can get into remote areas, then share information with everyone via the cloud. ... I don't even want to think about where we'd be without the technology."

Meanwhile, word is spreading about Build Change as it affects real social change in Nepal and around the world. In late March, the organization received a 2017 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, along with a $1.25 million grant.

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