As a collaborator in the Lyrasis Catalyst 2021-2022 award with the Science and Engineering Library we are pleased to produce our first documentation in the series done in collaboration Visitable.org - Accessibility Information and Disability Inclusion professionals
Our goal working with Visitable was to look at our spaces from a wheelchair accessibility perspective and consider which apps provide the simplest workflow for accessibility professionals to use when working with the LIDAR equipped iPad Pro 12.
<TLDR> 3d scanner app is a convenient off-the-shelf app you may use with confidence. All the features are free, and you're not locking yourself in from a file-format perspective. All that and it has some convenient workflow features for working with accessibility professionals.
July 13th I went scanning with Joe Jamison - founder of Visitable.org. All of the scans were done with the 3d scanner app, and most are posted here for review https://sketchfab.com/alibama77/collections/uva-health-science-library. Starting at the front of the library and working our way down the elevator and in to the bathroom and group study rooms we worked to evaluate 3d scanning in the context of space accessibility analysis. Here are Joe's notes
3d scanning strengths:
Manual testing strengths:
3d scanning weaknesses:
Manual testing weaknesses:
We downloaded about a dozen different 3d scanning apps, and most of them required paid subscriptions - i went through the free trials on several other tools, but really wasn't impressed and everything came in to a toss-up between two great products on the closed source side, and then the open source tool that comes from the robotics space and that shows strong potential for bringing game-changing developments in to the accessibility space.
For working offline and general flexibility + user interface there's no question - the 3d scanner app is your go-to app. Use the low resolution to capture large spaces, or dig in to a single room or two at a time with the high res tool. You can export the file a bunch of different ways and do any technical analysis you want, and exporting to the web is simple https://sketchfab.com/alibama77/collections/uva-health-science-library is a collection of scans done in the library and seems to work ok in the new Sketchfab lab tool here https://labs.sketchfab.com/experiments/measurements/. Familiarity with some 3d viewing tools is still going to be a plus, and for users who are comfortable in sketchup or other architectural tools the additional controls are available for you to work with.
https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/1st-floor-mens-0b64b75eea1c40a88aec4f021f7389ae in the labs tool here
their measuring tool correctly shows the distance in our men's room between a shelf and a wall at 83cm which is right on the cusp of being too small for a wheelchair to pass
For convenience a with just measuring spaces poly.cam is a solid contender. It only allows you to post 3d scans to the web, but it comes with some convenient measuring tools and this model of a hallway in the hospital was one of the first scans I took and the interface is intuitive and elegant.
Also tested but not ready for a full review is RTAB_MAP. This is an important tool for the next part of our discussion which is a more automated approach to the analysis and looking at accessibility from a robotics perspective. This has the capacity to tie in to epic large scale products, and being the only open source tool I've seen for processing LIDAR in the iOS ecosystem it is by far the most interesting tool to test. With an active forum, 260 open issues and 463 closed issues on github it is a very active community with incredibly technical leaders in the LIDAR processing field.
the point cloud interface is useful for showing people exactly what the machine sees at the most basic level, and from a training perspective is a great place to begin a training session. The pose overlay data is helpful for explaining that dimension of mapping.
http://introlab.github.io/rtabmap/, forum, github
the fact that this tool is harder to use for sighted users actually reinforces the idea that these tools should be better automated, and that ultimately human intervention in the process is not going to be
this is probably where we're going to spend a lot more time.... and it's open source, so that's awesome
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