Iowa DOT Uses Augmented Reality in Construction03-14-24 | News

Iowa DOT Uses Augmented Reality in Construction

Projects Designed and Monitored Using Integrative Technology
by Staff

By using Augmented Reality, the Iowa DOT keeps designers and inspectors updated on real-time measurements and project status, creating a more efficient and precise process.

The Iowa DOT is taking project management one step further by integrating on-site analysis and off-site design via augmented reality (AR), giving construction crews and designers alike a more informed, data-driven perspective on their project at any given moment.

AR differs from virtual reality (VR) in that AR overlays images of real-life environments with digitally generated content, while VR creates an entirely new "reality." Where construction inspectors could only access digital models on a tablet before, AR now allows them to integrate real-time geographical location data with the digital model, utilizing existing mapping software to allow the inspector to "see" how a project is progressing and how it will look when finished. On-site inspectors can also upload current measurements and other elements into the software, which designers can immediately access to update and adjust project plans, if needed.
AR is also useful during the project planning phases, when designers need to know the exact location of important elements like water and sewage pipes, utility poles, and electrical wiring. When inspectors can easily mark these elements on a digital image, the designer has precise data to help them efficiently create their designs and the commissioning institution has data that will make future updates seamless.
One of AR's main benefits is that the information is in real-time, whereas satellite images were only updated about once every year and could hold inaccurate data, delaying the construction process. Another benefit is that any accidents or mistakes can be remedied within a few hours instead of halting progress for a few days.
Because this technology is cloud-based and can be access on a smartphone or basic computer, it is affordable and efficient. The implications of this technology reach beyond road construction and can benefit every industry involved with planning, designing, and building.