What’s New

3d Reconstruction with the iPhone and Apple’s ARKit
See you at CVPR 2017
Patent Awarded to URC Ventures for Technology Powering StockpileReports.com
URCV a Featured Presenter at Capturing Reality Forum
xyHt Magazine features URCV Team and Technology
Rebuilding the World’s Landmarks
Solving the Whale Graveyard Mystery
World’s First Commercial Application: Stockpile Reports
3D Himalayan Fly-Through
Salmon Creek Dam



Robust 3d Reconstruction of Buildings w/ the iPhone

Sept 15, 2017

3d Reconstruction is notoriously terrible when confronted with smooth surfaces, repetitive patterns, and severe camera rotation. See how we’ve solved these issues with our new StructurePro engine, where we combine our proprietary processing with Apple’s ARKit poses, in iOS11, to generate robust, and accurate 3d models. read more…



See you at CVPR 2017

June 20, 2017




We are looking forward to seeing many of you at CVPR 2017 in Honolulu.  Senior Research Engineer Jared Heinly will be presenting at a tutorial on Large-Scale 3D Modeling from Crowdsourced Data. Come find us if you want to talk 3D reconstruction, using the iPhone as a measurement tool or dealing with massive image sets.



Patent Awarded to URC Ventures for Technology Powering StockpileReports.com

December 15, 2015

URC Ventures announced that it was awarded its first patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, marking a major milestone for the company.

Patent #9,196,084 was awarded to URCV for Determining Object Volume from Mobile Device Images.

Image: A quarry manager measuring a stockpile with a mobile device.
A quarry manager measuring a stockpile with a mobile device.

URCV specializes in solving industry challenges through real-time digitization of the physical world, and was a featured presenter at the recent Capturing Reality Forum in Salzburg, Austria. Company team members are recognized as experts in reality capture, photogrammetry and 3D modeling utilizing massive world-scale image sets and stereo modeling technology.

Stockpile Reports is the first commercial application for the company. Stockpile Reports leverages URC Venture’s mobile imaging technology to accurately measure the volume of stockpiled material, delivering accurate stockpile volume, tonnage and pile locations via an Apple® iPhone® device, by aerial, or UAS data. StockpileReports.com is currently being used by over 100 companies in 12 countries, to manage over $2 billion dollars in inventory.

“StockpileReports.com illustrates how reality capture can be applied to solve real business and industry problems,” said David Boardman, CEO of URC Ventures. “The technology behind the patent currently powers the service. URCV’s innovation is transforming the way physical inventory counts are being performed in the industry.”

“We have been processing over a 100 million images from cell phones and other cameras in an academic context for years,” stated Dr. Jan- Michael Frahm, Chief Science Advisor at URC Ventures. “We’re very pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Patent Office for being innovative, and also proud that our patented technology is being utilized by people like DOT workers, engineers, and quarry managers. We’re working to solve everyday business problems. URCV will continue to discover, and provide solutions. This patent is just the beginning.”

URCV Team members Jan-Michael Frahm, Brian Clipp, Charles Erignac and Jared Heinly hold Doctorate degrees in Computer Graphics, Computer Design, and Computer Vision. Dr. Jan-Michael Frahm has written over 100 peer-reviewed publications in computer vision conferences and journals, and is an Editor in Chief of the Elsevier Journal of Image and Vision Computing. Team members currently hold 32 other patents.

The full text of the patent is available on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.



URCV a Featured Presenter at Capturing Reality Forum

July 20, 2015
URCV is proud to have been selected as a featured presenter in the Capturing Reality Conference, November 23-25 in Salzburg, Austria. Industry experts will be presenting the latest concepts and industry advances in capturing reality by utilizing 3D imaging, laser scanning and LiDAR technologies.Capturing Reality Salzburg, Austria

Conference Chairman, Alastair MacDonald (Director of TMS International) summarises, “If you are interested in data capture and imaging on the inside or outside of facilities, the tracking of utilities and monitoring of transport, or modelling external effects on the national coastline or landmass, the Capturing Reality Forum has all the ingredients of a must-attend event. Delegates will be in the company of colleagues from all sectors of the geospatial data capture, visualisation and imaging industry. And this will all be happening over three days in the wonderful atmosphere of Salzburg.”

The presentation title is “How 12,903 of the World’s Most Beloved Landmarks Were Virtually Reconstructed in Six Days.”

Presentation discussion will include how the use of photogrammetry and 3D modeling has moved beyond games and entertainment and is being applied every day in business and conservation. URCV has processed billions of images through the cloud via world-scale stereo modelling technology. These include models of landmarks, quarries, construction sites, archaeological digs, mountains and entire cities based on datasets ranging from a few million images to 100 million images. URCV will discuss the challenges and process of harnessing massive data sets, using current examples of work, the project partnership with UNS and talk about future application possibilities for 3D reconstruction.

URCV is also the corporate sponsor of all the coffee breaks during the event. For more information about the conference and all the topics being presented, go to the Capturing Reality Programme page.



xyHt Magazine features URCV Team and Technology

July 15, 2015

“No one wakes up in the morning thinking that they need to buy a point cloud,” says URC Ventures xyHtmagazinecoverCEO David Boardman. “Most people would be thinking that they need to solve some business problem.”

What URC Ventures has done through their branded Stockpile Reports service is to address a very pressing business problem. At first glance it looks like, “Wow! An iPhone app that measures stockpile volumes!” The real story lies in the maturing of automated image-based 3D reconstruction, the robustness and reliability of such technologies, and more importantly, how this replaces legacy (or sometimes non-existent) stock inventory management systems.

Read about the URCV Team, and more about the genesis of URCV’s first commercial application: Stockpile Reports



Rebuilding the World’s Most Beloved Landmarks in Six Days

New Process Constructs 12,903 3D Models from 100 Million Crowd-Sourced Photos

June 8 – June 10, 2015

Click on image to view video of Notre- Dame 3D reconstruction.
Click on image to view video of Notre-Dame 3D reconstruction.

URCV has built a 3D reconstruction of the world’s landmarks using computer vision and 3D modeling techniques, in partnership with the UNC Department of Computer Science. Using Yahoo’s publically available collection of 100 million crowd-sourced photos and photogrammetry, UNC and URCV created a new software process able to rebuild 12,903 3D models after six days. A demonstration will be presented during the 2015 CVPR Computer Vision Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jared Heinly, Johannes L. Schönberger, Enrique Dunn and Jan-Michael Frahm of UNC’s 3D Computer Vision Group have created software that processes world-scale datasets to create 3D models of locations all over the world. Unlike maps and aerial images, these models can be directly used for VR applications such as virtual tourism.

Previous projects have built 3D models of landmarks from entire cities based on datasets of up to a few million images, but reconstructing the 3D models of the landmarks of the entire world requires the ability to process orders of magnitudes more data.

The focus of the new framework is to enable processing on datasets of arbitrary size. It streams each image consecutively, assigning it to a cluster of related images. The streaming process provides for greater scalability by analyzing each image only once. The key of the new algorithm is to efficiently decide which images to remember and which to discard as their information is already represented.

UNC and URCV researchers applied the framework to Yahoo’s publicly available collection of 100 million crowd-sourced photos, containing images geographically distributed throughout the entire world. The program took 4.4 days to stream and cluster the entire 14-terabyte dataset on a single computer before building the 3D models of each of those sites. Stacked on top of each other, these photos would reach into the middle of the stratosphere of the earth (twice as high as airplane cruise altitude).

After the data association process is complete, sparse 3D models are built using the images. This process takes less than a day, bringing the total process to slightly more than five days.

URCV specializes in solving industry challenges through real-time digitization of the physical world. URCV used the algorithm’s output to construct the 3D models via world-scale stereo modeling technology. Model results are based on URCV’s novel accuracy-driven view selection for precision scene reconstruction. To further improve the realism of the 3D scene models, a robust consensus-based depth map fusion is leveraged, along with an appearance correction. The world-scale stereo leverages a scalable, efficient multi-threaded implementation for faster modeling.

David Boardman, CEO of URCV said, “Being able to process billions of images into actionable data will power new business solutions that transform industries. Reconstructing the world’s landmarks so quickly is only one example of social application, pointing the way towards many future possibilities.”

Boardman described industry applications: “For example, imagine imagery streaming in from UAV, planes, cell phones, truck mounted cameras, and hard hat cameras enabling the reconstruction of mining and construction operations at any point in time. Or imagine imagery from the millions of self-driving cars in the future being leveraged to create up-to-the-second street maps. Think of the lives that would be saved if First Responders could see an up-to-the-minute model of an emergency scene before arriving.”

URCV first made headlines in 2012 with the announcement of the creation of a photo-realistic 3D model of the Himalayas, by working with David Breashears and his GlacierWorks team. Over one hundred thousand images were processed to create a multi-billion-pixel point cloud that was used to create a 3D model fly-through of the Himalayas.

URCV was recently honored to have assisted Smithsonian and Chilean scientists with technical assistance in 2014, by rapid reconstructing massive image sets from a large fossil site of ancient marine mammal skeletons in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile.

URCV’s first commercially successful service, StockpileReports.com, leverages the URCV 3D reconstruction platform, processing millions of images into accurate inventory measurements for aggregates producers, mining companies, construction companies, and State Transportation Departments.



URCV: Presentor and Advisory Board Member at SPAR International 2015

March 30 – April 2, 2015

URC Ventures is honored to have been chosen as an Advisory Board Member, and also as a featured presenter in 2015’s SPAR International Conference in Houston, TX from March 30 – April 2, 2015.

SPAR International is a platform-neutral conference & exhibition focused on end-to-end business and technology considerations for 3D measurement and imaging for industrial facilities; building, architecture and construction; civil infrastructure.



URCV Presents at SPAR International 2014

April 14-17, 2014

URC Ventures was chosen as a featured presenter in the SPAR International Meeting in Colorado Springs. The SPAR conference focuses on business and technology considerations for end-to-end 3D measurement.

“Our presenters are among the most experienced and qualified 3D experts in the world,” said Lisa Murray, Director of SPAR Point Group. David Boardman CEO of URC Ventures, Inc. will be presenting on the topic of 3D reconstruction from massive image sets.


URC Ventures Assists Smithsonian to Help Scientists Solve “Sudden Death at Sea” Mystery

February 25, 2014

URCV is honored to have assisted Smithsonian and Chilean scientists with technical assistance by rapid reconstructing massive image sets from a large fossil site of ancient marine mammal skeletons in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. This is the first definitive example of repeated mass strandings of marine mammals in the fossil record. The site reflected four distinct strandings over time, indicating a repeated and similar cause: toxic algae. The team’s findings will be published Feb. 26 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. URCV congratulates the team on their findings — it brings us great pride and joy to know that our efforts were able to help the research community. Read more about the research findings.

3D scanning tent CerroBallena
On the far left and far right, Adam Metallo and Vince Rossi from the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office 3D Lab, use high-resolution laser arm and medium-range laser scanners to document one of the most complete fossil whales from Cerro Ballena in 2011. In the background, Smithsonian paleontologist Dr. Nick Pyenson reviews data on his laptop while the group works at night, in a temporary tent next to the Pan-American Highway. Credit: Smithsonian Institution.



Stockpile Reports on Cover of Rock Products Magazine

June 15, 2013

URCV’s first commercial App and service, Stockpile Reports is featured on the June 2013 cover of Rock Products Magazine and reviewed in the article COVER_2Technology Beyond Measure. The article details the ease of use, benefits and process of using the Stockpiles iPhone® application to measure stockpile inventories.

Brian Gray, President of Knife River Corps Northwest Region said that simplicity and accuracy are two key benefits of using the Stockpile Reports system.

Stockpile Reports is an online service that delivers accurate stockpile volume, tonnage and pile locations using an Apple® iPhone® device, Aerial, or UAS data, with patent-pending technology utilized in 12 countries, and by 8 out of the Top 10 U.S. aggregates companies.

Technology Beyond Measure also features quotes from customer Bill Gibson, production equipment manager for Knife River Corporation. Read the standalone article or the interactive version of Rock Products Magazine online.



URCV Honored to Contribute 3D Model of Himalayan Glaciers

May 30, 2013

URCV was honored to have contributed its 2D-to-3D modeling expertise to the Flight To Everest video segment on the Everest: Rivers of Ice website. Using automated technology, URC Ventures created a photo-realistic, 3D model and flythrough around Mount Everest. Everest: Rivers of Ice was created by GlacierWorks in partnership with Internet Explorer. Visit Everest: Rivers of Ice to learn more about the Himalayan glaciers and engage in the dialogue about their changes.



Automated Technology Extracts Multi-Billion-Pixel Colorized Point Cloud of the Himalayas from Thousands of Images to Create Photo-Realistic 3D Model.

June 27, 2012

URCV, solving large scale industry challenges through real time digitization of the physical world announces the creation of a photo-realistic 3D model of the Himalayas generated from thousands of images collected by David Breashears and his GlacierWorks team. The images were captured using a set of seven state of the art cameras mounted to the front of a helicopter, which flew along the length of the Khumbu Glacier then rose above the Khumbu Icefall and into Everest’s Western Cwm, reaching a very high altitude. The first set of images has been processed to create a multi-billion-pixel point cloud that was used to create a 3D model fly-through of the Himalayas.

We collected the imagery in December of 2010 and had been looking for a way to create a 3D model of the dataset. I was introduced to URC Ventures and the results of the processing are impressive. Their work is critical to GlacierWorks’ mission to document and vividly illustrate changes to Himalayan glaciers that have taken place over the past century, said David Breashears, GlacierWorks Executive Director.

To build the 3D model, URCV utilized proven dense 3D extraction technology converting ordinary 2D imagery into a 3D space, pixel by pixel.

The process is automated and leverages computer vision techniques and sophisticated algorithms to extract and reconstruct the real world pixel by pixel. Working with the GlacierWorks team has been a great opportunity to validate commercial applications for technology historically utilized in a military context. Google and Apple’s use of 3D technologies demonstrates that the commercial and consumer markets are ready to adopt 3D solutions and 3D models into their businesses and personal lives, said David Boardman, URC Ventures CEO.


Demanding Conditions that Required an Alternative to LiDAR

March 2012

Salmon Creek Dam

Salmon Creek Dam, owned by Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (AELP), was built in 1914 and is the world’s 1st constant-angle arch variable radius dam which has seen its share of severe weather. The location of the dam is in a remote area, only accessible by foot or helicopter, and has no electrical access. The environment made it difficult for LiDAR units to be placed in a safe location to scan the dam.

Working with URC Ventures, dense image-based 3D modeling technology was used to successfully process the image set in under 2 hours— generating a 50 million-pixel point cloud.

URCV leveraged Dense 3D Extraction technology to deliver a point cloud and mesh:

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark ii 21.1 megapixel
  • Images Processed: 459
  • Time to Process: under 2 hours
  • Point Cloud: 50 million-pixels
  • Accuracy: 1-inch pixel resolution with a 1.6-inch tolerance

Read the full Salmon Creek Dam Survey case study [PDF]