PS. I'll be graduating this July with my masters.
As far as I can tell it's not directly related to yours - but are you aware of any software that uses say, Android OS and a camera or pre-existing photos of the inside of a house/office/building to create a 3d map? Matterport seems like it might but their Android app is not going so well.
Ben’s reviews are the best I’ve seen, but he is far from the only reviewer in this space.
Unfortunately, most of the software in this space does not actually generate a floor plan, even if they do create a 3D model of the space (like Matterport). There is one program he highlighted which is bundled with a service from the company that you can use to process your pictures and generate a floor plan among other things, but some of that work is still done by human beings.
I’m still looking for a good consumer grade program that can do photogrammetry of a space and turn that into a floor plan. I’ve seen attempts to do this with phones and cameras, and the LIDAR scanner that Apple has recently introduced has improved the situation, but IMO it is still not there yet.
But please correct me if I’m wrong. I would love to be wrong.
Edit: the Canvas.io software really wants the latest iPhone or iPad devices with LIDAR scanners built-in. It will supposedly run on lesser hardware, but with greater error in the constructed 3D map. Fine for a sample to get an idea of whether or not it might work for you, but not really enough to actually use for anything useful.
Fine for a sample to get an idea of whether or not it might work for you, but not really enough to actually use for anything useful.
But IMO, this still isn’t good enough. It’s a huge improvement over the corner mode, which is what you have to use if you aren’t using a device with a LIDAR sensor, but it’s still not enough.
I’m still looking.
For people who have physical access to a property, I wonder if you could use a variant of SLAM like the robot vacs - maybe hack one of those laser tape measures to plug into your phone as you walk around the house.
It's not automatic of course, but you can do it pretty discretely and cover a whole house with measurements in ~ 10 minutes. I did it every single time when we were looking at houses.
Also always brought a powerful flashlight and a small spirit level.
I have an application however where I want to be able to capture an outdoor forest scene with a video camera and convert that to a video game/simulation scene which renders efficiently. It turns out that is a more challenging problem that actually no one has solved as far as I know.
There’s lots of neat research tho and it will be possible some day. This bit of research is pretty cool:
However, if the global camera poses are available, we can detect surfaces in photos and project them reasonably well into 3D. In the past, I have used this work to achieve something similar: https://github.com/NVlabs/planercnn
I believe it can also use the LiDAR sensor in newer phones, but I haven't tested that.
An easier sell than Matterport, which (IIRC) is a $5K camera. FloPlan just charges a per-plan price (again, IIRC).
If you want the generic service, you have to go to Cubi Casa.
It also seems to focus on creating 3D models of things and not spaces.
The "dollhouse" view is really handy for being able to get a sense of the space.
The earliest I am aware of was a specialized mini "cart" studded with video cameras that one would roll around the place and will get a textured 3D model that can then be walked around, Doom-style. It was made by a Vancouver startup was back in mid '00s.
There is also a specialized handheld "scanner" gadget that was marketed towards police use for capturing crime scene details. You'd just wave it around and see the resulting 3D phtogrammetry capture in real-time. Missed a bit - go back a wave a bit more. This was in the early '10s.
I'd imagine that this has been ported to smartphones already, because they now have sufficient sensor, storage and processing capacity for that.
I definitely feel like no one has won the market yet. Having something available or somewhat good isn't market dominance.
Or what Neato does with all these floor plans on their servers ...
About twenty years ago I worked for a big box store's corporate headquarters. One of my tasks was to add new stores to MapBlast so they would show up on the "Find a store" section of our website. Problem was that often stores were built in new sections of rapidly growing sprawl so the streets weren't in MapBlast yet. I'd have to make educated guesses as where to put the store on the map. Sometimes I could call the store and get some help that way but for our international stores, that was difficult because of the language barrier. We knew that there was some department somewhere in the company that had detailed drawings of each store, including precise location coordinates but the company was so large, we had no clue where to even begin to find that department.
This can detect rooms as polygons, doors/windows as line segments and bounding boxes around objects (e.g. cabinets, sinks etc. indicated on floorplans).
Indoor mapping is a hard problem because typical map providers tend to ignore private spaces, which is where maps are most needed. E.g. Apple, Google, Here, etc have great maps for a very limited set of public buildings but they don't really have solutions for indoors.
We know of a few companies specializing in this but it typically involves a lot of manual work and tends to have a high cost, require a lot of hand holding, and some very niche mapping skills. Also, a lot of indoor maps are intended for e.g. architects, contain a lot of clutter, or are generally not well suited for use on e.g. mobile screens.
It's an interesting problem to start tackling because we are getting kind of a critical mass of technology that will be able to start delivering pretty accurate positioning to commodity phones. There are all sorts of things happening in the industry related to that. It's a bit similar to when GPS became common on phones and it became a mass market in a few short years. Before that you had all sorts of niche stuff. After that you had ridiculous amounts of user generated content, open street maps, foursquare, etc.
Totally agree that it's an overlooked problem and we've been quietly working to solve it for years. Early on we realized the key was to build "everyman" mapping tools that facility managers can use themselves to keep data up to date.
We're increasingly focused on our developer-facing tools and I'd love any feedback if you end up taking a look! (https://www.mappedin.com/mapping/sdks/)
I'd be happy to talk more about this if you're interested - email is in my bio.
Here is the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfl4muDFf0qktqtWhj6...
Sorry for the trouble.