OpenSpace launches ‘Google Street View’ for construction projects 

10th June 2022 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

OpenSpace launches ‘Google Street View’ for construction projects 

Jaco Barnard

Stellenbosch-based Agile Business Technology (ABT) has partnered with US group OpenSpace to launch its 360° capture and artificial intelligence (AI) platform for construction projects in South Africa.

By using the 360° images generated in OpenSpace to document an evolving jobsite, teams can radically improve their collaboration, says ABT architecture, engineering and construction solutions director Jaco Barnard.

The software also makes it easier do quality control, note progress, and do inspections to help identify safety hazards.

The technology can even be leveraged as a point of reference following project completion to assist owners and facilities teams to resolve any outstanding issues, adds Barnard.

Founded in 2017, OpenSpace is an AI technology company that aims to bring “new levels of transparency and efficiency to construction and real estate projects”.

Every construction project (big or small) has many role players who need to see the site and know what is happening.

Until now, the only options open to these role players were to look at hundreds of pictures with little context of location, or video calling someone from the site.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also made actual site visits very difficult over the last two-and-a-half years.

“To date, our customers have used OpenSpace to capture more than seven-billion square feet of imagery from active construction projects across thousands of sites in over 75 countries,” explains the US company.

“Imagine checking in on your site from the comfort of your office or even your home. No need to catch red-eye flights or live in expensive hotels — simply ask someone to take a walk and you can virtually visit the site that same day.”

Construction companies also use the platform to “automatically capture a complete visual record of the jobsite, providing a single source of truth that increases coordination, drives accountability, and simplifies dispute resolution”.

How it Works
Anyone on site can put on the helmet with the camera attached, connect their phone, start recording, and upload the footage to after they have walked the site. 

From there, OpenSpace promises to do the heavy lifting.

Using AI, computer vision, three-dimensional reconstruction and machine learning, the user's position is plotted on the floor plan and the 360° images are generated.

By clicking on the dots on the screen, viewers can move around as they please and see the site with a 360˚ view.

Additional features such as Split View and Field Notes allow viewers to compare the site to previous walkthroughs, and to also download a pdf report with the location and time of any field notes taken. 

This processing happens in less than an hour.

Barnard says ABT sells a subscription, with clients then able to use the software on as many projects as they like for a 12-month period.

“We are targeting construction companies, as well as construction companies’ clients.”

Barnard says OpenSpace can work equally well on anything from a simple building project to more complicated industrial and underground projects.

“All you need is adequate light. The camera, mounted on a hard hat, has its own WiFi.

“What really stands out about this product is that it is so easy to use,” notes Barnard. “You put on the camera, you press play and you start walking.”