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My First GeoCV Experience9444

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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
So, after a lot of discussion and assistance on these forums I've just returned to the UK from the US this week with my shiny new GeoCV kit in hand and have just completed my first 2 jobs with it today (got another 4 later this week, so it's proving popular!)

I'm just about to upload them for processing, so will post links once we've got them completed (the client wants a lot of tags etc within the tour so is really going to put us to the test on the new workshop!) but here's my experience of the kit itself and the actual scanning process as compared to the Matterport setup we've been using the past few years (which I'm guessing is what we're all interested in, considering the current climate!!) ....

The kit itself is obviously quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Matterport camera (with it just consisting of a Samsung phone, sensor and rotator) but is a nice setup and really easy to hook up.

I'd had a play around with it prior to taking it straight out on the job (y'know being a professional and all!) but it was immediately very intuitive to use and is a really great system.

I really liked the markup of windows / mirrors showing an immediate representation of the effect on the floorplan and how it will show on the model. You actually choose the scan point you want the next scan to connect to, which is a nice touch and helped when going back to the point where a path splits to start scanning another route.

Obviously, it's a new system so there will be some niggles as things don't work the way you're used to them working but my main problem was not knowing when a scan had finished, with there being no remote view. There is a beep to announce completion but I was scanning a bar area and even just the noise of the fridges was too loud to allow me to hear the beep. While this isn't an issue it just slows down the process and means that if there's an issue (ie. the sensor cable came loose at one point and we also got a camera error once or twice) you don't know about it until you go back to the camera and the scan hasn't happened. If you're stood behind the camera moving around with it then this becomes less of an issue but there was a lot of reflective surface in the space so we were trying to keep ourselves out of shot!

Also, am hoping that there is some solution to relying on a phone battery coming from GeoCV at some point, as we have a couple of large student accommodation sites to do later this week and I know the job will be slower than usual, which we'll have to start factoring in.

Overall, the GeoCV system is great and I think there is the potential here to offer a real alternative to a lot of MSPs who are ready to hang up their Pro2s as the results I've seen so far are excellent..... though I guess that after so many of use being burned it's not just about kit... it will also rely on GeoCV showing that this is a company we can put long term trust in.
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lucadeal private msg quote post Address this user
Really interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Please keep us update on the final results, what you've done is exactly what I was planning to do (going to the US and get the GeoCV kit, try it out and hopefully replace MP...)

Out of curiosity, is this new capturing process significantly slower than MP?

Cheers from Switzerland!

Luca
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Home3D private msg quote post Address this user
Shooting time for GeoCV is virtually identical to Matterport. Most of the time I stand behind the camera as it rotates 360, just as I do with MP unless tight to a wall (I'm pretty lanky so I can usually squeeze around). Both systems take about 45 seconds to rotate. MP rotates slightly faster, but then there's the "download" via Wifi to the iPad, whereas with GeoCV it's already there. Alignment time is also about the same.

Like @Convrts, I really like that the windows/mirrors/trim markups actually show what they're doing on the screen in real time. Okay, also I like MP for the screen itself being larger on the iPad, but both work fine.

I also agree that the Samsung phone's battery in the GeoCV rig is taxed on a larger shoot. I just did a 10,000 sq ft home and it was essential to recharge it while I flew the drone and had lunch. I've shot MP for over three years on homes exceeding 12,000 and have never run the battery down much past halfway. My imagination is that 2/3 the size and weight of the MP camera is battery! It would be great if GeoCV comes up with a battery boosting solution. But planning your day carefully helps.

Currently GeoCV does not offer a programmed 'showcase tour' capability. On the other hand, GeoCV offers many things MP doesn't, including white label, an interactive mini-map in the corner, and the ability to host yourself. Many other features and a tech team that's working with a photographer mindset (rather than pitching their equipment to your clients.)

Here is one of my GeoCV models. Be sure to click on the 'tree' icon for Outdoor view.

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frstbubble private msg quote post Address this user
@Home3D Does it cost additional to process the outside model captured with a drone? And if so how much? Thanks for the view!
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lucadeal private msg quote post Address this user
@Home3D thanks for the extra explanation and for sharing your (wonderful) work! Did you use Drone Deploy for exteriors? Only that or did you have to add some outside pictures from the ground?

Cheers

Luca
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Home3D private msg quote post Address this user
Yes I flew a DroneDeploy grid over the property and then flew manually. GeoCV's recommendation for the manual flight is to begin at the altitude of the grid looking straight down (like the grid shots) and progressively click stills as you descend while spirally out around the home (so you're angling downward at roughly a 45° angle) descending to the level at which you're still safely above treetops seeing the home fairly clear. I've also used DroneDeploy to assemble the 3D model, downloading .obj image sets.

Another tip. It's best if the grid and manual flight occur in one after the other so the lighting is pretty identical.

I hope this makes a bit of sense. It was confusing to me at first!
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Home3D private msg quote post Address this user
Regarding cost, the DroneDeploy service is not cheap. $99 / mo if you buy an annual plan, $149 / mo if monthly. That makes sense for construction / agricultural customers who do this daily, but is rough for RE if you do one of these every month or two. As for the cost of assembling these, which is GeoCV's brilliance, talk with them.
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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
So I've got a couple of tours back from GeoCV and created the first draft for one of the clients and linked below. I still need to add pins etc and find out some info from GeoCV with regards whether it's possible to deep link etc but am really happy with the system.

I've now done 6 models with the kit and it is very intuitive to use and to be honest I prefer the look of the tours to those on my Pro2, though I think that might be novelty factor so we'll see....

As I mentioned earlier, battery life is the most difficult workaround as we had 2 sites to do in 1 day and we had to hang around waiting for the phone to charge but this will just have to be factored in to our schedule.

The other thing I noticed is that in repetitive spaces, such as long corridors, it doesn't cope as well as our Matterport camera. We do a lot of student accommodation (we've done about 28 sites last year and all have long corridors to the show flats which have little to distinguish one door from another), so we know how Matterport copes with such spaces and we had to shoot scans much closer together with the GeoCV camera than with Matterport. This isn't a problem but again something we'll have to factor in as it doubled the time we spent in some areas.

Overall, I would completely recommend the GeoCV option, the staff at support have been great and am really happy with the results of our first jobs. I think that GeoCV offer a solution which completes with our previous Virtual Tour solution in every way and, with the white labelling and self-hosting options, takes the potential of this system to another level.

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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@Convrts

Wow! Fun looking at "all floors" ...

Thanks for sharing ...

Dan
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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSmigrod
@Convrts

Wow! Fun looking at "all floors" ...

Thanks for sharing ...

Dan


Haha, yeah they always seem to put the show apartments on 4th or 5th floor which can make for a bit of a weird dollhouse! We can occasionally fool the system into thinking it's on the 1st floor and putting the 2 apartments on the "same" corridor (if the doorways / hallways etc are the same on each floor) but with it being the first time we'd tried this kit out we thought we'd stick to the rules!!
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@Convrts

Wow! That's crazy! "Fool" the computer to put the 5th floor on the 2nd floor. Wouldn't want to fool viewers, but interesting technique.

Dan
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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSmigrod
@Convrts

Wow! That's crazy! "Fool" the computer to put the 5th floor on the 2nd floor. Wouldn't want to fool viewers, but interesting technique.

Dan


Yeah, otherwise the model can get quite sprawling and the client just want the potential students to see the spaces so if we can get them closer to the hub of the building it makes for a better overall experience. Otherwise we have to put tags by the elevator with deep links to the upper floors to save navigating 8 flights of stairs!

Just editing the next tour at the moment and gotta say I am loving GeoCV!
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jellofan private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Convrts
The other thing I noticed is that in repetitive spaces, such as long corridors, it doesn't cope as well as our Matterport camera.


That part surprises me. From everything I've read GeoCV always aligns either with the previous scan or with a specific user-specified scan, and hence I thought that would prevent the issue we see with Matterport where it can align the current scan with a previous scan far away, requiring us to delete and re-scan.

Does GeoCV have April Tag support? At least since GeoCV advertises you can edit the scans you could then remove the Tags with post-processing.
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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by jellofan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Convrts
The other thing I noticed is that in repetitive spaces, such as long corridors, it doesn't cope as well as our Matterport camera.


That part surprises me. From everything I've read GeoCV always aligns either with the previous scan or with a specific user-specified scan, and hence I thought that would prevent the issue we see with Matterport where it can align the current scan with a previous scan far away, requiring us to delete and re-scan.

Does GeoCV have April Tag support? At least since GeoCV advertises you can edit the scans you could then remove the Tags with post-processing.


Yeah, I really like the fact that you choose the scan the next one aligns with (though i did forget to select the nearest scan occasionally when completing one area and moving to the next and ended up with it trying to connect to the previous scan all the way across the room...but thats just me being absent minded!) With repetitive spaces it initially struggled until we made the distances much shorter than we would normally. As I said though, once we realised we had to do this it worked fine and it wasn't a problem but I just wanted to share my experience exactly as I found it.

Yeah I'm sure it's possible to add physical items into the scans and remove them in post (we did a couple of gyms with wall sized mirrors in them so we took a few scans with the camera in view of the mirror to try this out). However, I need to stress that this wasn't necessary, by halving the distance between the scan points than we'd usually do the problem was solved... a lot less effort than entering into removing things from panos later on.

Again, it's the same with the battery thing, it's just something I thought worth mentioning as might be of use when others go out with the kit who are used to a 7-8 hour battery life... but isn't a major problem. We bought a power bank after the first day so we could start to charge it on the way from one job to another so it wasn't as much of a hold up.

All in all, it's just a slightly different experience scanning with this kit than what we've been used to .. but one I'd definitely recommend trying out because we're incredibly impressed with it
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jellofan private msg quote post Address this user
We really appreciate all of you that are being GeoCV "lab rats" for the rest of us.
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MikhailBombin private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Convrts
The other thing I noticed is that in repetitive spaces, such as long corridors, it doesn't cope as well as our Matterport camera.

I guess i can share a small sneak peek on the features we plan to implement shortly.
We are going to add special QR-code markers to the app that would fix the problem, you'll just need to print them and take it with you on a shoot.
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Home3D private msg quote post Address this user
I will add this observation. When I scan around extended loops, meaning a linear path which eventually hooks back into a model, I often experience cumulative misalignments which build up. My experience thus far is that when closing these looped paths GeoCV’s alignment errors are smaller on the scan map (therefore better) than Matterport’s. This is not a scientific test, I’ve never looped the same path with both systems, but it’s my observation all the same. Perhaps Geo’s point cloud has more points? I certainly don’t know.

This is not really a problem, as with both systems these angular errors are corrected in processing, but it’s an observation.

Like, I presume, other experienced MSPs (and GSPs) I’ve learned to watch carefully as each new scan appears on the map, so as to immediately delete and rescan if the alignment or placement is wrong, to prevent the build-up of misalignments.

As I’ve before noted, MP loves to advertise its system as “charge the battery and just push the button” which is far from truthful. I sometimes wonder, how many homes have personally been scanned, working alone like we do, by the C-suite execs of these companies. I get the impression that at GeoCV, they’ve done this.
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Convrts private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Home3D
I will add this observation. When I scan around extended loops, meaning a linear path which eventually hooks back into a model, I often experience cumulative misalignments which build up. My experience thus far is that when closing these looped paths GeoCV’s alignment errors are smaller on the scan map (therefore better) than Matterport’s.


Yes I agree @home3d this often happens when we have a corridor looping from one area of the model to another and rarely do they come together exactly. We've only ever had one issue with this after processing as the 2 doorways returned at 90 degrees to one another in one corner of a room and after processing it was impossible to choose between them... whichever way you walked it would take you through the same door. We had to reshoot a few scans and put the alignment mismatch half way down the corridor which fixed it. I should point out this was a previous job using Matterport not GeoCV

Looking at the map as it builds up on the camera it does seem to align very well and will definitely keep an eye on it!

With regards the ease of use of Matterport vs GeoCV, both systems are very easy to get started on and I can see Matterport's reasoning when pushing their product to potential customers because they want as few barriers to entry as possible (which drew us all in initially) but just because a camera is easy to pick up and point at something doesn't mean you're going to get a good picture.

Talking of picture quality - I really like the look of the GeoCV tour over Matterport but would mention that the exposure levels are brighter than on the Pro2, which has been great for the few accommodation sites we've just scanned with it but have also just completed a Gin Bar which is a lovely old style space with lots of brass, oak etc and it's lost a lot of it's richness of colour and vibe. We actually raised the "mood lighting" in the space when we scanned it as it would have been very dark in Matterport but wish we'd kept it now.... it's all a learning experience!!
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MikhailBombin private msg quote post Address this user
I'd like to mention that the map you see on the device is not final, it only represents the basic alignment of panoramas one by one, and no actual alignment of the ones from different parts of the scan.
But of course it's done during further processing, so in 100% cases final model would look better and more aligned then the one you see on the phone. Of course it doesn't mean you don't need to check it time to time, not to miss some serious issues.
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