Recently, at Autodesk University, dozens of infrastructure professionals from around the world boarded a bus and braved unusually frigid temperatures at an event dubbed, “Explore Las Vegas, InfraWorks Style!”Hosted by Autodesk, the event showcased how the City of Las Vegas and VTN Consulting created a massive, living model of the above and below ground Las Vegas facilities including roadways, telecommunications and buildings.
Event participants were able to experience the model for themselves using Apple iPads and the Autodesk InfraWorks mobile app. InfraWorks offers the ability to amass a wide range of data, including GIS, satellite imagery, and point clouds, to rapidly generate 3D models that show infrastructure designs in the context of their existing environment.
The adventure began with a bus ride where Keith Warren of VTN Consulting, a full-service engineering, planning, GIS, and BIM firm providing quality services to public and private sectors, discussed the origins and benefits of the Las Vegas model. The City and VTN used data from a variety of sources to build the model, and added to existing data with mobile scanning. The model covers approximately 7 square miles of the city. Why undertake such an ambitious effort? The City wanted high-quality, accessible data for use in planning, design, and construction projects.
The first stop of the day was near the site of the popular reality TV show “Pawn Stars.” With the temperatures dipping below freezing that day, many participants wished they’d dressed more warmly. But as each person was handed an iPad and began to explore the model, everyone began to focus on their iPads—and the above and below ground infrastructure of Las Vegas.
Simply by turning layers on and off in the model, people could see the infrastructure below their feet. They could even turn off things like buildings to get a better view of the street’s infrastructure assets. Pointing the iPad in different directions dynamically changed the view to match. People were especially excited about the ability to see specific assets underground. Soon, participants were snapping photographs that captured the surrounding area and infrastructure assets.
The consensus? Participants were excited about the ease of use, and the breadth of data earned high marks. As the event drew to a close, Warren was pleased by the opportunity to demonstrate the model to peers. “It was exciting to share where the City of Las Vegas is and where it wants to go,” he said. “Events like this provide feedback from infrastructure professionals from all over the world. We can use that to help Las Vegas’s innovative use of technology to grow even more.”