My job is so cool.

I mean, I get to talk to some of the most impressively intelligent people on the planet on a daily basis. I get to talk to them about their favorite software. I ask them what makes them tick, how do they like to design, hear them describe their inspiration and passion for architecture – all good stuff. It really is fun for me, a journalist with a broadcasting background – who struggled with Lincoln Logs as a kid, to learn about architecture and design from the people who do it every day so well.

Recently I got a chance to hear Philip Allsopp, Chief Design Officer with Smart Pad Living, LLC ( talk about a fascinating project he’s working on.

ARCHICAD HABSIn just a few words, you’ll understand why this conversation was particularly cool. Allsopp and his team really pushed the envelope on a recent project. They combined the power of drones, 3D laser scanning, and point clouds with ARCHICAD 19 to recreate high quality drawings of the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building, an important, historic structure built of concrete, steel, and some adobe as part of the 1938 WPA project. The building is in jeopardy of being torn down and part of the effort to save it includes creating accurate as-built HABS (Historic American Building Survey) drawings to support fund-raising and preservation efforts.  These HABS drawings will also be lodged with the United States Library of Congress.

Had Allsopp and his team gone about it in the traditional manner – they might still be at it. Some 15-20 surveyors would be hard at work for about 3 months (costing an estimated quarter of a million US dollars). Historic preservation projects typically do not have that kind of budget, mind you – and this one didn’t have that kind of time either.

Fortunately for this project, that kind of time and money was not needed. Philip Allsopp and his team at Smart Pad Living (, and ToPa3D ( captured an as-built model of the Arizona State Fairgrounds Grandstand Building in record time.

Using ARCHICAD 19, the team imported 4 billion data points of the front and side scans of the building in less than a minute.

You read that correctly. The entire surveying project was completed in four days, with post-processing taking only one more week. All made possible, Allsopp says, by the power of ARCHICAD 19.

ARCHICAD HABS Point Cloud“Halfway through scanning the grandstand, we checked the point cloud files and saw that we had created well over a billion data points. ARCHICAD 19 read that data in about 30 seconds. Creating sections and elevations of the point clouds took no more time than any section or elevation takes in ARCHICAD – it’s a matter of seconds,” Allsopp said. “Having worked with some dedicated point cloud visualization tools, it is the only software I know that is able to handle, read and manipulate such a large data set so fast. Going forward, we will be using ARCHICAD extensively for creating orthographic images and drawings for the HABS parts of this important project,” he added.

Now here’s where your job is cool. You get to hear all about this project in an upcoming, free webinar.

ARCHICAD Point Cloud BIMOn December 8th, you will learn how the latest technology innovations allowed the Arizona and Oregon-based team using 3D scanners and drones to generate “point clouds” with all the necessary geometric information of the entire structure — including all interiors — at a high level of detail and accuracy (+/-2mm).

You will also learn how to align your design with automatically-generated, 100% accurate point cloud 3D geometry information, dramatically reducing the time spent on surveying, eliminating errors and saving money. So click any of the links below that work with your schedule – you will not regret it.

Register for any one of the three, free online webinars!

For Australia and Asia (English):

For Europe, Middle-East and Africa (English):

For the Americas (English):