Architecture, BIM, and Preservation with PhotoModeler

PhotoModeler software is widely used as a measurement and modeling tool in architecture, BIM, preservation, conservation, and cultural resource management applications for:

  • Documenting construction for input to BIM
  • Documenting and measuring older buildings and structures for conservation and preservation
  • Generating 3D models for visualization and view studies
  • Generating elevation drawings of your existing structures
  • Generating rectified photographs of facades from single and multiple photo projects
  • Producing photo-textured 3D models for realistic walk-bys
  • Surveying existing structures and objects
  • With PhotoModeler Scanner, obtain scans of facades, esp. those with complex shapes and natural textures. Details can also be captured in stone and brick walls.


BIM - Building Information Modeling is a collection of data (3D models, system diagrams, photographs, etc.) that help with planning, design, construction, and on-going management of modern buildings. Photogrammetry can be part of the BIM data model. A combination of 3D modeling (from ground or drone photography), and ortho-mosaic images aid with comparing design with construction, and for documenting and input into your BIM system.

Preservation and Cultural Heritage

When working with existing structures - sometimes very old buildings, drawings and models usually do not exist. Photogrammetry can be very helpful in documenting older structures to aid with preservation work. Both CAD models and dense surface models can be created with photogrammetry to help with this work.


Emmaburg Castle

Emmaburg ShadedThe Emmaburg is one of the most important historical buildings in East-Belgium. It consists of different buildings - segments like a donjon, a chapel, living quarters and buildings for farming. In this photogrammetry project the chapel was measured to create a photorealistic and measurable 3D model.

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This interesting and detailed architectural project was carried out by Jan Wesbuer in his diploma at the department of civil engineering at FH Aachen (Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Surveying Sciences). 

The project consists of 104 photographs taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 with 35mm and 107mm focal length lenses. The project had 16 control points (to support measuring strength), over one thousand points, one thousand lines, over two hundred NURBS curves and over 900 surfaces. 

The project was exported into VRML with 22 MB of texture and imported into Cinema 4D to make a flight around the building. Other products such as orthophotos and stereo views were created. Beside these products, the authors were also interested in the accuracy of close range photogrammetric methods and checked the accuracy of the PhotoModeler predictions with a Zeiss Trimble 3305 DR total station. The measurements were all in the expected range of prediction. 

View the fly-by movie created from the PhotoModeler model in Cinema 4D: Flash Video (5MB). 

Click on one of the below images to see other outputs from the project including wireframe, textured model, and positions of camera stations.


The following DSM project was completed by Eos staff with photos kindly provided by Jan Wesbuer, who completed the larger Emmaburg PhotoModeler study shown above. This is an example of re-purposing photographs as these photographs were originally taken as part of a standard PhotoModeler survey and here they are used to extract a dense surface model. This animation shows the shaded surface model. The four bumps just right of the tower are from the real object - they are brackets for holding lights or torches.


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Hong Kong Bank of China Tower

Bank of China 3D PhotoModeler was used to create this model of the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. The 368 metre skyscraper is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Central Hong Kong. It has a unique sectional design, providing a different perspective from each side of the building.


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Producing models of tall structures such as this building presents a number of photography challenges. Click on image below for larger versions.


1) Obstructions: Like many big cities, Hong Kong is dense and it can be difficult to take photos than capture full and unobstructed views of the building.

2) Elevated shots: it is not always possible to gain access to elevated positions for taking photos. Most photos will have to be taken from easily accessible positions at ground level.

To compensate for these limitations, extra photos were taken, with some sections of the building photographed in overlapping sections to ensure proper coverage. This resulted in 27 photographs being used, which is a large amount to work with in a PhotoModeler project. To use this high number of photos efficiently, PhotoModeler's Photo Sets were used to organize photos in groups for use in marking, referencing, and troubleshooting. The Photo Sets also assisted in assigning the best quality photo textures for the model.

The building itself contained many identifiable features that could be marked and referenced in PhotoModeler. Its triangular sections provided many corners, while the criss-cross bars on the sides of the building provided additional features to mark. They are also important to the model because they represent important structural features, as these bars are major components of the weight bearing structural design.

A number of different PhotoModeler tools were used to complete the model - such as points, lines, surfaces, surface draw, referencing, projections, photo sets and cylinders. The final model was a detailed wireframe CAD model, that captured the full building and its features in detail. In addition, photo-textures were added for a complete 3D model.

The project was completed by SJF Marketing, using 25 photos taken with a 2.1 Mega Pixel Canon Powershot digital camera.

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Spanish Monastery

Point CloudThe Collegiate Church of Santa Cruz is located in Castaneda Spain. It was declared a National Monument in 1930. This project was completed by Jorge Cueli of PUNTO ARQUITECTURA with 50 photographs and numerous overlapping scans using PhotoModeler Scanner. The result is a point cloud with 14 million points. The picture looks solid on the right because the point density is so high.

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View an interesting animation that zooms in to see the individual points of the high density cloud.

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Wood Cabin

PhotoModeler was used to create this model of a wooden cabin in British Columbia, Canada. The cabin is a complex object to model but using PhotoModeler's range of modeling tools and proper photograph coverage, the project was completed in detail.



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The realistic 3D result made use of PhotoModeler's enhanced surfacing and photo texturing tools. The project was completed by Eos Systems, using 351 3D points on 14 photos taken with a 2.1 Mega Pixel Toshiba PDR-M4 digital camera.

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Lucerne City Street Scape

This 3D model of Lucerne's historic town center was created for use on a website to enable potential visitors to experience a realistic on-line tour. The tour provides a much better perspective of the area than can be obtained with a simple map. The revenue for the site is provided by merchants who pay to have their stores featured as part of the model. 

The 50 buildings included in the model meant this would have been a time consuming and very expensive process using traditional surveying methods. PhotoModeler provided a more efficient means of creating an accurate and visually realistic model from about 500 photos, at a fraction of the cost. 

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The client was so pleased with the results that Architect Olivier Hess of Archiscan in Belgium has been asked to model another 1000 buildings. He can be reached at

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Lion Statue

Lion project screen shot

This lion statue is located in Vancouver's famous Stanley Park. It is one of four lions that surround a bridge over the Lions Gate Bridge causeway.

This project is an excellent example of using PhotoModeler Scanner's two abilities to model both complex organic shapes through scanning, and geometric shapes through wireframes, points, and surfaces. Mark Savoy, on the Eos staff, completed this project.

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Lion 3D animation

This animation of the lion statue shows a fly-around of the photo-textured result.






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Some Customers

• Architectural Academy, France
• Architecture Academy, Germany
• Arizona State University
• Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
• Denmark Technical University
• Historic Preservation Consultants
• Louisiana State University
• Mimar Sinan University, Turkey
• Queensland U of T, Australia
• Texas A&M University
• University of Colorado
• University of Utah

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