Inspection wrap up hero

A step further: bringing BIM to telecom tower models

Pix4D’s new Scan-to-BIM service has created an enhanced digital twin of a telecom tower in Switzerland.

BIM, or Building Information Modeling, is a way to use multiple tools and technologies to create digitized versions of physical objects specifically for designing, inspecting, and maintaining assets or buildings. A BIM model is a digital twin of reality that can easily be inspected and shared, meaning it is easier to update and interact with. Pix4D provides BIM models through its Scan-to-BIM service that is available to PIX4Dcloud and PIX4Dinspect users. The service helps users save time and money through improved communication and preventing errors and costly re-work.

Scan-to-BIM was recently used by a telecom tower owner in Switzerland. They wanted to add antennas to the structure after a thorough inspection that would show the tower’s current status and equipment. The workflow is natively integrated into Pix4D’s products:

  1. They complete an inspection with PIX4Dinspect
  2. The telco owner clicks on “Request a BIM model” in PIXDinspect
  3. Pix4D's Digital Construction Team (DCT) creates and shares a BIM model based on the model in PIX4Dinspect
IMA INS Telecom
Telecom towers require careful inspections and accurate records that BIM can streamline

Project overview

Processing softwarePIX4Dinspect
Data collection softwarePIX4Dscan
Images captured1400
Tower height75 meters
Antenna count50

Creating a drone mapping workflow for BIM modeling

Data collection is the first step for creating a BIM model. A team from Pix4D visited the tower site. They planned data collection with the drone flight planning app PIX4Dscan which is tailored to optimize data collection for PIX4Dinspect. To ensure that any terrestrial utilities were also captured, the data collection was supplemented with imagery gathered with the mobile app PIX4Dcatch. This terrestrial data was processed by desktop photogrammetry software PIX4Dmatic.

PIX4Dinspect then produced an intelligent digital twin. The software has built-in machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate measuring and identifying features that include antennas and rust. The final point cloud automatically detected the 50 antennas on the tower.

After the Telco requested a BIM model, Pix4D's Digital Construction Team set about enhancing the model to reflect the business requirements. The level of detail included in this BIM model was elod300, which means that it has a precise geometry for specific elements and is accurate enough to be used for future design purposes. These could include:

  • Designing new antenna nests
  • Adding new metallic structures
  • Electrical equipment installations
  • Adding solar panels

The functions of the BIM model would range from construction to maintenance, refurbishment, expansion, and even demolition. The manual tasks relating to managing and inspecting this tower reduced by over 70% thanks to the BIM model provided by Pix4D.

VIS DigitalTwins Celltower RD1
The BIM model includes layers of detail as well as the option to simulate new installations

Delivering an accurate BIM model

The Scan-to-BIM service provided the telecom tower owner with an accurate BIM model of their assets. Now, site analysis and plans for new installations can be done off-site with simplified and clear communication. The costs and durations of inspections have been massively reduced.

Pix4D emphasizes accuracy across its operations and the Scan-to-BIM service is no exception. In this case, the BIM model was so accurate it reduced the amount of errors and clashes during construction by over 80%. This is a massive saving of time and costs on the part of the user and would not be possible with traditional 2D CAD drawings.

The total maintenance and design workflow costs were reduced by 70% compared to manual methods. Thanks to the Scan-to-BIM service, this Pix4D user has a brand new enhanced digital twin that they can trust as an accurate record and easily update.

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