As a sponsor of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), OpenSpace is committed to providing valuable insights and resources to our customers and industry peers. Recently, we had the privilege of hosting a series of fireside chats with distinguished NECA members TCE and Cleveland Electric. These engaging conversations touched upon various aspects of our industry…
5 Tips for More Effective Site Walks With 360° Photo Documentation Technology
February 21st, 2020
Walking a job site to capture 360° photo documentation automatically using OpenSpace Reality Capture can reap enormous benefits, including more complete documentation, reduced rework costs, and better collaboration with other teams involved in the project. The time savings are also significant, given that documentation with OpenSpace is at least five times faster than manual capture.
To start realizing those benefits, you’ll need to attach a 360° camera to your hardhat and start walking, but there’s slightly more to it than that. You don’t want to speed-walk, for example, as we’ll explain.
Below are five suggestions for getting the most out of your job site walks using OpenSpace.
1. Cover as much ground as you can.
To illustrate this point, we’ve included a visualization of the difference between a sub-par site walk and a highly productive one below. In the second picture, you can see that the walker has captured each room and covered significantly more ground. This approach will help your team in the long run with richer 360° photo documentation and the ability to compare locations on different dates.
Remember that you can walk for as long as you like; there aren’t any time constraints on the length of a capture session.
2. Stroll like you’re on a beach.
Imagine yourself walking on a beach surrounded by sand and ocean, in no hurry as you take in the scenery. Now imagine instead that you’re surrounded by framing and steel beams, feeling equally unrushed.
We’ve also heard “shopping speed” used to help people remember to walk at the right pace. Whatever works for you is fine. Just remember that a leisurely pace lets your camera capture high-quality 360° photo documentation, whereas power-walking through your site can result in motion blur.
3. Select the correct floor plan in the app.
If your project has multiple levels or areas, remember to upload all relevant floor plans to OpenSpace in advance of walking your site. Then, make sure to start a new capture on the correct floor plan in the OpenSpace app every time you move between levels or areas during your site walk. This will ensure your location is captured accurately and reduce the processing time of your 360° photo documentation.
4. Use Field Notes.
OpenSpace’s powerful Field Notes feature lets on-site teams take pictures and jot down notes to document details for future review, such as missing interior corners or caulking. Once written, they’re automatically pinned to the correct location on the floor plan. There are numerous use cases for Field Notes, but our clients often use them for documenting punch list items, debris, issues/RFIs, and trade damage.
To use Field Notes on your walk, just select “Add Field Note” in the OpenSpace app as you’re walking.
5. Good lighting and a clean lens matter.
As in other walks of life, good lighting can make all the difference. In the case of 360° photo documentation software, strong light helps your camera take high-resolution images while minimizing motion blur.
If your site has poorly-lit areas, we recommend hardhat lighting options like the Litra Torch or Illumagear Halo. You can always reach out to OpenSpace Support for advice on what we would recommend for your particular job site.
It’s also important to keep your lens clean, which really translates to wiping it off before you go on a site walk and keeping your fingers off of it.
If it would be easy for a forensics team to extract your prints from your capture (like in the unfortunate case above), then you’re doing it wrong!
Lens wipes work the best, but using a microfiber cloth to give your lens a quick wipe before you head out to capture 360° photo documentation also does the trick.