Assisted Alignment

Before you begin 

What is Assisted Alignment?

Assisted Alignment is a feature that makes it easier for you to scan places with empty or repetitive architecture.

Examples of such places include:

  1. Large, open areas
    • Empty factories, empty storerooms, empty convention centers and ballrooms.
  2. Long uniform hallways
    • In schools, hotels, and rental storage units
  3. Areas with uniform and repeating architecture
    • Like an environment with evenly spaced columns (see the image below) 
  4. Architecture, engineering, and construction models
  5. Commercial real estate Spaces
    • Especially properties that are empty for the most part (i.e. don't have any furniture). 

Previously these places were very difficult to capture — the lack of 3D data or the fact that a new scan was too similar to a previous scan often led to misalignments and alignment errors.

empty-nola-factory-medium.jpg

How to use Assisted Alignment  

To use Assisted Alignment, you'll need to print out markers like the one pictured below, then tape them to key locations on-site. Before scanning, confirm the Assisted Alignment toggle is turned on in the Capture app. 

marker-19.png

Switch on Assisted Alignment in Matterport Capture 

  1. Open the Matterport Capture app on your mobile device. 
  2. Hit the "More" button at the top-left of the screen. 
  3. In the window that appears, tap "Settings & Privacy". 
  4. Under "Assisted Alignment", toggle the switch to "On". 

What Assisted Alignment does

While you are scanning, the Matterport Capture app looks at your 2D panorama images and recognizes these markers. The Capture app then uses visual information such as the size and location of the marker to help place the scan in roughly the correct location and then uses depth information to fine-tune the alignment.

Markers will appear in the final Matterport Space and will not be edited out. If you are capturing mainly for 3D data such as the point cloud, then this is not an issue. If you care strongly about the visual quality of the Space, we suggest you continue to use appropriate 3D objects such as plants, chairs, and boxes to blend into the Space, while simultaneously giving the Capture app something to latch onto when aligning with previously scanned positions. You can also create your own branded markers.

Assisted Alignment with Matterport is based on April Tags from the APRIL Lab at the University of Michigan. Special thanks to Professor Olson and his team. 

Instructions  

I. Download and use marker sets 

  1. Download the set of markers based on your paper size
  2. Print the markers at 100% scale
    • Do not expand the markers to poster-size, or to fit the page. 
    • Make sure to take the markers with you when you visit the site.
  3. Decide which tags to use 
    • Though we've included a set of 100 tags, you will not need to use all 100. The exact amount to use is your decision, and should be carefully made by looking at the size of the Space you're scanning, and its unique characteristics. 
  4. Take more markers than you think are necessary 
    • Remember, you cannot reuse markers within a single Matterport model - bring extra! 

These scan markers are based on AprilTags by the APRIL Lab at the University of Michigan. Visual markers from other systems or companies will not work with Matterport.

II. Place your markers  

  1. Upon arriving on-site, place the markers to prepare your scan.with_apriltags_instead_of_objects.png
    • Markers should be placed at eye-level, and should be spaced about 15 feet (or 4.5 meters) apart - this distance is not a requirement, but a general guide. 
    • For reference, 15 feet is about the length of a typical four-door passenger sedan.  
  2. Choose the order of your marker placement 
    • Markers can be placed and scanned at any order on the job site - that being said, it's important to note that you cannot reuse or move markers once they are placed. 
      • Example: You've printed out ten markers, and scanned all ten. After scanning you pick up marker #1 and move it to a new spot - this will confuse the Capture app and potentially ruin your scan. Instead, print out new markers (say, #11 - #50), and place them in the additional scan points.  
  3. Physically place your markers 
    • Apply markers to flat surfaces like walls, columns, and floors. 
  4. Tape all four corners of your marker 
    • This will ensure the markers are entirely flush with the surface they're on - if they're not (and curling or flapping occurs), the markers will not be recognized as 3D data. This will interfere with the point cloud or 3D mesh you'll want to export later in the process. 
  5. Try to maintain "head-on" angles 
    • The best places for markers are walls, as they will appear to be a symmetrical shape. As mentioned above, you can place markers on the floor or ceiling as well, but these may be harder for the camera to recognize (because they may appear at an oblique angle). 

III. Scan your markers 

  1. Open the Matterport Capture app on your mobile device.
  2. Hit the "More" button at the top-left of the screen. 
  3. In the window that appears, tap "Settings & Privacy". 
  4. Under "Assisted Alignment", toggle the switch to "On". 
    • Assisted Alignment will add two to three seconds to your scan times - keep this in mind for future models, as turning it off will allow you to scan a bit faster.
  5. Connect to the camera and take your scan. with_apriltags_instead_of_objects.png
    • The scanning process is no different usual - Assisted Alignment works with all Matterport Pro series cameras, so the same rules apply: 
      • Each scan position should be about 15 feet (or 4.5 meters) apart, and have a direct line-of-sight to the previous scan and marker
  6. Find your markers in Capture. first-scan-preview-button.png
    • Markers will not appear explicitly in the minimap, however you can tap on the scan number and tap "Preview Scan" to visually identify each of your markers. 
  7. Upload your model for processing. 
  8. Once complete, open my.matterport.com and locate your 3D Space. 
  9. From here, view and share your Space as you normally would. 

Questions? Read our 10-step walkthrough that will take you through the scanning process for beginners. In addition, read our Normal best practices for scanning support document for additional support.

 

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