Enabling 3D Visualization of Simulated Construction Operations

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Virginia Tech

Simulation modeling and visualization can substantially help in designing complex construction operations and in making optimal decisions where traditional methods prove ineffective or are unfeasible. However, there has been limited use of simulation in planning construction operations due to the unavailability of appropriate visual communication tools that can provide users with a more realistic and comprehensible feedback from simulation analyses. Visualizing simulated construction operations in 3D can significantly help in establishing the credibility of simulation models. In addition, 3D visualization can provide valuable insight into the subtleties of construction operations that are otherwise non-quantifiable and presentable.

New software development technologies emerge at incredible rates that allow engineers and scientists to create novel, domain-specific applications. This study capitalized on a computer graphics technology based on the concept of the "Scene Graph" to design and implement a general-purpose 3D Visualization System that is Simulation and CAD-software independent. This system, the "Dynamic Construction Visualizer", enables realistic visualization of modeled construction operations and the resulting products in 3D and can be used in conjunction with a wide variety of simulation tools. This thesis describes the "Dynamic Construction Visualizer" as well as the "Scene Graph" architecture and the Frame Updating algorithms used in its design.

Construction Operations, Simulation, Animation, 3D Visualization, Scene Graphs, Computer Graphics