URC Ventures Develops Photo-Realistic 3D Model of the Himalayas

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Automated Technology Extracts Multi-Billion-Pixel Colorized Point Cloud of the Himalayas from Thousands of Images to Create Photo-Realistic 3D Model.

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Working with the GlacierWorks team has been a great opportunity to validate commercial applications for technology historically utilized in a military context.

URC Ventures, Inc., solving large scale industry challenges through real time digitization of the physical world announces the creation of a photo-realistic 3D model of the Himalayas generated from thousands of images collected by David Breashears and his GlacierWorks team. The images were captured using a set of seven state of the art cameras mounted to the front of a helicopter, which flew along the length of the Khumbu Glacier then rose above the Khumbu Icefall and into Everest’s Western Cwm, reaching an altitude of 28,000 ft. The first set of images has been processed to create a multi-billion-pixel point cloud that was used to create a 3D model fly-through of the Himalayas.

“We collected the imagery in December of 2010 and had been looking for a way to create a 3D model of the dataset. I was introduced to URC Ventures and the results of the processing are impressive. Their work is critical to GlacierWorks’ mission to document and vividly illustrate changes to Himalayan glaciers that have taken place over the past century,” said David Breashears, GlacierWorks Executive Director.

To build the 3D model, URC Ventures utilized proven dense 3D extraction technology converting ordinary 2D imagery into a 3D space, pixel by pixel. The technology developed over the last 10 years by Urban Robotics for specific government applications scales to very large numbers of images and does not require single data capture location points, special cameras or rigorous calibration.

Urban Robotics software is combined with other leading edge 3D technologies to develop commercial solutions that solve large-scale industry problems in mining, construction, and entertainment. The process is automated and leverages computer vision techniques and sophisticated algorithms to extract and reconstruct the real world pixel by pixel. “Working with the GlacierWorks team has been a great opportunity to validate commercial applications for technology historically utilized in a military context. Google and Apple's use of 3D technologies demonstrates that the commercial and consumer markets are ready to adopt 3D solutions and 3D models into their businesses and personal lives", said David Boardman, URC Ventures CEO.

About URC Ventures
URC Ventures was establish in 2011 to leverage Urban Robotics’ dense 3D extraction and reconstruction technology for the development of commercial sector solutions that address large-scale industry problems. For more information, please visit http://www.urcventures.com.

About GlacierWorks
Founded by acclaimed mountaineer, photographer, and filmmaker David Breashears, GlacierWorks is a non-profit organization that vividly illustrates changes to Himalayan glaciers through art, science and adventure. Since 2007, GlacierWorks has undertaken eleven expeditions to document the current state of the glaciers, retracing the steps of the world’s greatest alpine photographers in order to capture new images that precisely match the early photographic records. Using these pairs of past and present photographs and the highest-resolution images ever taken of Himalayan glaciers starkly reveals the alarming loss of ice that has taken place over the past century. For more information, please visit http://www.glacierworks.org.

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