VentusAR set to transform the design and assessment process for new developments

VentusAR is a tablet application which creates an instant 3D image of what a landscape would look like following planned development. It integrates proposed models using gravity sensors and GPS, which allows live, in-field visual assessment from any location and is set to transform the design and LVIA process.

Independent design, environment and sustainability consultancy, LDA Design, has invested in VentusAR (Augmented Reality software), equipping each of its five offices with the means to visualise developments from the earliest stage of the design and Landscape and Visual Impact (LVIA) process. The tool was originally designed for wind farms; however, through collaboration with LDA Design, the software is being assessed for a variety of new developments – from solar farms to housing developments.

Linknode, a Scottish high-growth software technology company based in Glasgow developed VentusAR. LDA Design and Linknode have been working together over the past nine months on rigorous site testing of, and enhancements to, the software to ensure that it is accurate enough to be proportionate and ‘fit for purpose’ in informing assessment and design work, whilst maintaining ease of use.

Linknode’s patent pending AR solution allows users to rapidly review multiple layout scenarios onsite. It allows users to take a tablet (iPad and Android devices) on site to ‘see’ a proposed development (and any design options in consideration) live on the screen from any direction. Time to prepare for a site visit depends on the complexity of the development, however, it can take just a few minutes to upload proposed wind turbine or residential building co-ordinates and have the entire model ready to take to site.

In addition to supporting the task of visualising the development, technical information can be recorded which can then be used as an audit of the design and consultation process. The combination of easy visualisations and recording of detailed data enables a better understanding of the likely effects and appearance of developments from the earliest stages.

Mary Fisher, Director at LDA Design, said:

“This application will help the decision-makers, consultees, designers, assessors and the community to get a feel for what a development would look like. It also has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of producing informal visualisations.

“VentusAR forms part of our innovative approach to actively seek new ways to work more efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.”

Crispin Hoult, founder of Linknode added:

“Working with LDA on in-field validation has helped us to add value to the technical solution and to create credibility within the renewables development and planning domains”.

As well as VentusAR, LDA Design has also recently collaborated with EMAPsite to develop NEXTMAP25 – a new terrain mapping product, as well as developed its own solar site finding tool.

LDA Design and Linknode will both be represented at Scottish Renewables Annual Conference in March, All-Energy in May, and RenewableUK in November 2014.