Tag Archives: France

Starting to fill in content to this site

I’ve started to add content to this site now that its structure is more or less laid out. I’ve added sample photographs to the Photography|Travel section

Plus I have added content to these projects:

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New Header

I’m posting a new header for this blog. It’s a composite image of half of the Quai Vauban facing the river Doubs in Besancon, France.  It’s an accurate assembly of a couple dozen images that are each rectified to a known plane/scale.  Here is a detail showing the resolution of the image. We are hoping to see this printed full size and used as a mural somewhere in Charlottesville – a sister city to Besancon.

The Roots of Photogrammetry

 

Stereoscopic View of Worlds Fair Paris 1900

Stereoscopic View of Worlds Fair Paris 1900

The roots of photogrammetry lie in sterescopy, capturing three dimensional views with pairs of images.  This is almost as old as photography itself.  This image I particularly like because it looks like two capital letters “A” – like my last name – and it is in Paris, where I first learned about photogrammetry.

Aerial Photogrammetry

Massing Study from Aerial Photos

Massing Study from Aerial Photos

While I was working in France for Innova, we did some photogrammetry using shots taken from a helicopter. Some of this was mapping related for transportation studies, and some was more three dimensional in nature.  It is not a market that I have pursued here in the US – it was very difficult to do in those days and required a fair amount of support from ground based control data derived from theodolites and such.  Recently I did an experiment using an aerial photo that I shot of the Blackfriar’s theater in Staunton and integrated it into a photogrammetric model and found the whole thing considerable more accurate and easy to do than I rememeber it was 18 years ago. Shown here is a cut sheet from a project completed with Innova back in the early days.

Notre Dame de Paris & the Basilique St. Denis

 

Southwest Tower Notre Dame de Paris

Southwest Tower Notre Dame de Paris

I was lucky to work on some great projects while employed at Innova in the early 90’s.  We were making measured drawings of the layout of individual construction units for stone structures such as the Notre Dame de Paris and the Basilique St. Denis. It was interesting to see the strange cycle of work that started with stone masons years ago, filtered through our photography and CAD drawings, printed onto paper drawings and then used in the yard adjacent to these structures by contemporary stone masons.  It was a cool mixture of high and low tech.

As an architect, using photogrammetry as a tool to measure and draw buildings was tantamount to learning to see buildings in a unique light. In fact it was the beginning of an education on how to see buildings.  This is probably my favorite part of doing this kind of work… it has provided a way to exercise the “muscle” of observation. I remember how cool it was to first work on a project through using photographs – measuring and drawing a building – and THEN visiting the site in person.  I felt like I already knew the place in some meaningful way.  Nowadays that almost never happens since I do all of the photography work on site myself.

innova-BSD_04

Basilique St. Denis, partial drawing

Discovering Photogrammetry in France

I first encountered the concept of architectural photogrammetry while working as an architect in Paris in 1990 -and was immediately intrigued. So much so that I decided to swap my job with a 45 minute commute into the city for a new job just a short bicycle ride away (in the town of Egly)  in order to learn how to do this work.  Simultaneously I had to learn how to draw with a computer; up until then I had only drafted with pen and pencil (plastic leads for working drawings).  It was a lot to take in, but I think its fair to say that I loved it.

digitizing puck

digitizing puck

Back then, the process was nearly completely analog: We shot film and had it developed into 8″x10″ prints.  These were then taped onto a large format digitizer so that points on the photos could be communicated to software running on a PC.  Then after a photogrammetric analysis of this information was completed, we made drawings that were plotted to scale – and it was these prints that were the “deliverable” product desired by our clients.

I remember seeing a number of photos taped onto a digitizing table and watching my colleague Herve use the digitizing puck to point to the same location on a building as seen from various points of view and then push a button and seeing the point location appear in 3-D coordinates in an CAD drawing on a computer screen.  It seemed magical.

As more and more points were measured in this way, I could start to see the shape of the building.  This became even clearer as points were connected into lines and polylines; the “point cloud” was becoming a “wire frame”.

When I first got out of architecture school and was working for a firm in New York City, the first thing I had to do was to learn how to make measured drawings of existing conditions.  It was messy, confusing work on site and often yielded error-ridden results in the office that required repeated return visits to understand and clarify what was really happening architecturally.  When I saw a dimensionally accurate 3-D model representing an existing structure being created from a handful of photos, I was hooked.  Nobody I knew was doing anything like this in the United States.

 

Triumphal Arch Jardin de Tuileries

Triumphal Arch Jardin de Tuileries