Automated Digital Data Collection for Construction Projects: Analysis of a Prototype
Digital photography is an excellent way of documenting construction project issues and progress. Digital photography has improved over the years and newer cameras are now available that capture a full 360° image. These images are compelling in that they capture spatial (3-dimensional) information that adds to our understanding about where the photograph was taken. Commonly, the task of taking these newer 360° photos is relegated to a junior-level employee or is done whenever someone has the camera on site and has the time to take some pictures. When this type of data is recorded at infrequent intervals, important issues and trends could be missed on the project. Worse yet, photographic data may never be recorded if no one has the time to do it. The process is viewed by some as cumbersome, menial, and monotonous. Therefore, if construction practitioners have such an adverse attitude toward recording digital photography while also recognizing the value in it, why not outsource this task to robots? Automating this task could improve consistency, improve quality, and increase reliability of the photographic documentation of a construction project – allowing construction practitioners more time to focus on creative problem solving.
The intent of this research was to explore a way to offload the task of documenting digital photography using a programmable robot.