What’s the Best Way to Plan for a Pope Visit? Bentley Has the Answer (You’re Going to Need a Helicopter)

Bentley Systems CEO, Greg Bentley, laid out the role of building modeling in large-scale event planning at the SPAR 3D Expo and Conference.--photo via Bentley Systems / Engineering.com
Greg Bentley--photo via Bentley Systems.
Greg Bentley–photo via Bentley Systems.

During his keynote speech at the SPAR 3D Expo and Conference, Greg Bentley, Bentley Systems CEO, talked about the role building information modeling plays in large-scale event planning, writes Erin Green for engineering.com.

Bentley used the recent example of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia last year, when event production firm ESM Productions had to figure out the logistics of the entire visit. The event asked for 56,400 temporary structures, 33 miles of security barricade perimeter, as well as a viable plan to secure smooth traffic flow around necessary road closures.

According to Bentley, the best way to approach this monumental task was to create a usable 3D map. A helicopter was sent around the city to take aerial photographs, which were then combined with previously taken ground footage through Bentley Systems’ ContextCapture software, to create a 3D reality mesh.

From there, it was possible to design the layout for the numerous temporary facilities in the virtual context of Philadelphia. To make the Pope’s visit run as smoothly as possible, it was even possible to simulate likely weather conditions and daylight with the use of GPS coordinates embedded in the mesh and LumenRT.

The entire project served as the testing ground for reality capture and its involvement in a large-scale design workflow.

“The fact that we test-drove ContextCapture on a 60-acre site just gives us all the confidence in the world that the next arena, opera house, convention center or 60-acre site that we choose to employ this tool will be successful again and again,” commented Scott Mirkin, President and Executive Producer at ESM Productions.

Read more about the technology at engineering.com here, and check out previous VISTA Today coverage of Bentley Systems here.