Best Practices for Preparing and Scanning an Environment

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Area Targets are a target type that can be used to track a part of the real surroundings. It opens unique opportunities for augmenting any part of the environment that was included in the Area Target. In order to use Area Targets, special hardware is required for scanning the selected environment according to guidelines. This guide informs you of such recommendations for choosing, preparing, and capturing an environment.

Choosing Environments

Factory floors, apartments, museums, and large indoor spaces are all suitable candidates as Area Targets. Choosing an environment should be based on these specifications:

  • Indoor spaces up to 1.000m² or 10,000 sq ft with consistent artificial lighting.
    • For larger environments, divide the space into multiple separate scans.
  • The space should remain static; objects that are included in the scan should be fixed and unlikely to be moved. In environments, such as exhibition booths or office spaces with many movable elements or persons verify that enough portions of the surroundings – such as wall decorations, ceiling-based installations, floor covering, stable furniture or similar are always visible during the intended augmentation scenarios.

More device specific information can be found in the Area Target Scanning Guide using Matterport.

Scanning an Environment

Preparing the Space

When you have selected an environment to scan that upholds the abovementioned criteria, it is advisable to prepare as much as possible before starting the scanning process. Preparation includes charging the equipment and overlooking the space that will be captured.

  • Inspect the space, tidy up your environment, and remove items that you do not wish to be included in the scan.
  • Minimize incoming sunlight from windows by closing the curtains or blinds. At the same time, ensure enough lighting is provided, by e.g. switching on lamps and lights, providing a typical lighting scenario.
  • Close the doors to rooms and spaces that are not to be included.

Planning your Path and Scan

Before starting to scan, you should follow a normal walking path through the space and mark the scanning positions with tape in a grid like pattern 1.5 to 2.5 m (5 to 8 ft) apart and 0.6 m (2ft) from walls, doors and objects. This will ensure a clean line of sight and capturing the entire space without distortions, slices, and warps.

  • Mark positions at natural points of interest within the space (i.e. at a workstation, desk, or machinery).
  • Avoid marking scanning positions in corners, too close to walls, and in the doorways.
    • In cases where you move around a corner, mark down also at the corner’s edge.
    • For doors, scan before and after entering a new room while maintaining the above-mentioned distance.
  • Make additional scans where a visitor or user would look for more information.

During scanning

  • Try to avoid scanning while there is activity in the space. Similarly, you should also stay clear of being present in the scans.
  • If possible, monitor the scanning progress via a provided application or other software to ensure correct alignment of the new parts in between scans. Correct failed scans by re-scanning on the position or move closer to the prior scan for achieving a better result that is compatible with your model.

Completing the Scan

Depending on the device and/or application that was used to scan the area, there may be some specific steps to review, improve and complete the scan. In general, the new digital model should be reviewed for any missing parts or inconsistencies.

  • Any missing parts should be reconciled with additional scans. If a tool is provided along with the 3D camera to edit the digital model in terms of i.e. removing unwanted parts or improving it by marking windows, mirrors etc., do so during or after the scanning is complete.

As an example, Matterport™ provides the Matterport™ Capture iOS application that allows you to review the model in a dollhouse view for any inconsistencies and add extra scans to fill in those blank spaces to gain a complete scan. The Capture App also offers tools to remove any parts that you do not wish to have in the final mesh. For information on the Matterport™ Capture App, please refer to Area Targets Scanning Guide or Best Practices from Matterport™.

Assisting Area Target Tracking

Rooms and environments with more unique features and objects tend to do better in tracking and re-localization. In environments containing repeated structure and/or multiple instances of the same objects, tracking locations may be mistaken for one another or not be recognized. To accommodate spaces with less features or repetitions, we recommend adding additional features such as prominent objects or markers that can aid the tracking, or you may use the location prior for (first-time) localization. See the Area Target API Overview for more information.