How I scanned a glass walled overhead walkway, a man trap, and room with floors that change colors in a large datacenter.

Hello everyone,

Well I had a client that wanted their facility scanned both in as a 3D model and VR model. They specified that it be stereoscopic and have fluid transitions in the VR. The model is located here:

I have reached out to the client about allowing Matterport to showcase the model in their gallery and have not received information back yet.

Either way I'm pretty proud of this scan, and I want to let everyone at Matterport that worked on this know how much I appreciate all the effort they put into this model. Thank You!

So as you enter the model you will notice there is a mantrap that when scanning it had to be timed perfect. If you don't know what a mantrap is a device that a person scans a card and then walks into the device, then one door closes and another opens to allow you to enter the facility. This thing swiveled two different ways and it took about two hours at around midnight to get a good scan of it. So the way I got the scan was I started the scan with the interior door open, then as the camera passed just the edge of the open door I allowed the door to close while shimmying around the back of the camera as it was spinning. Then as the camera got close to the front or exterior door of the mantrap the door opened and allowed the camera to scan the other side. In the scan it looks like the mantrap is open on both sides when in reality it was only open for the portion of time the camera was scanning the opening for each door. It is hard to explain without seeing the model. One of the things you should know is that we did not circumvent any security measures while working on this scan. Which required us to get creative.

There is a second mantrap that is a room. I was not able to scan that room with both doors open so the only way in is to walk through the mantrap and then back into the room from the interior door. The interesting thing about this model is that the floor in the room changes colors when the user scans their badge. The floor is red when you need to scan and then the floor turns green when a good scan is detected. One of the other things that most people don't notice is that if you look at the glass wall in this mantrap an you are on a scan where the floor is red, you will notice that the wall is frosted. When you stand on a scan where the floor is green the wall is transparent. This is because the wall changes when you scan your card.

Once inside the building there are some interesting things. For example on the first floor there is a rock wall and full gym. The other thing is that all the art in the building was created by people at the company and out of recycled materials.

If you go up the stairs to the second floor you will notice the main board room up and to the left. When you walk into the room you will notice that you can see through the glass wall to the NOC. As you move closer to the NOC the shades on the glass close. We did this so that people visiting could not make out what was on the screens in great detail.

In the main conference room there is also a Mattertag on the floor that leads to an empty server vault. In the vault you will notice a traffic cone in the middle of the room. That cone allowed me to scan the middle of the room without problems. The way that I made it white was I found some white duct tape and an exacto knife and "wallpapered" the cone with it. It didn't look too out of place and didn't take away from the enormity of the room. Also, the client asked that we only scan half of the room because they said that most people when they saw this room would only need to see the first part. So I used a trim line to trim the model down. I also placed a descriptive Mattertag and a link back to the conference room from the vault allowing the user to freely move between the two.

If you walk through opposing door of the conference room you will walk into a long hallway. As you get closer to the turn in the hallway the lighting changes. The lighting in this part of the building is completely adjustable to any brightness or color. This leads to the overhead glass walkway.

This glass hallway was almost the death of me from a scanning perspective. The client did not want anything in the hallway to take away from the view, like cones or boxes. The camera did fine up until you got about two sections of the hallway in. Then it started thinking you were scanning at a spot that you had already scanned. After talking to the client and a trip to Walmart's home department. I found these round circular mirrors that when you laid them face down they look like raised black circles. They were around 1" tall and random sizes. I randomized the order and size of them as I traveled across the glass corridor and finally made it to the other side of the walkway. This took hours, I actually lost count of how long it did take. but I do know that my scan count increased by about 100 just on this portion of the model alone. That was just the count. It produced just a few good scans out of that 100, but I made it across. If you continue to the other side and continue down the hallway you will see a round room. This room is the overlook for the mechanical and electrical rooms for the facility. There are Mattertags that allow you to visit each of these rooms by clicking on the link, and there are Mattertags in each of the rooms that allow you to get back to the circular room.

Note that the electrical room had lights installed that represent the different systems in play. Each different colored light represented a different type of system.

If you continue out of the circular room to the back hallway it leads out to a crows nest that overlooks the backyard of the building. There you will see 13 Generators lined up. That is a lot of power. I had no idea that the "cloud" took so much power to run.

Something that most people probably would not tell you is that after the scan was completed I was working with the main model to create smaller scans to upload I was copying and deleting the different floors. I wanted to get feedback on the models fairly quickly, so I knew whether or not I needed to rescan something. After very little sleep on the third day I thought that I was working on a copy of the model but in reality I was on the original and ended up deleting the second floor off of the first floor of the original model. With a hell of an effort and a hell of a lot of help from Matterport we were able to put humpty dumpty back together again. That was a pretty scary moment when you realize you may have just deleted days worth of work (I literally almost lost my lunch). So thank you to the Matterport team for helping get the scan back on track. You're awesome.

Well that is how I did it. It took me a few days to get the whole scan done.

Hope you enjoy it.

Jonathan R. Batchelor

Virtual Viewpoint, Inc.



  • Amazing Space, Jonathan. Everyone I show it to says the same thing - WOW!

  • @jrbatchelor Very cool!!! Nice Space. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Thanks Amir, I know you had a hand in making it great! Thanks so much for all your help.

  • Thanks Bill, I really appreciate that. It was like wrestling a bear, but we got it done.

  • Incredible! How long did something like take you? What was the end result with the number of scans? I'm potentially shooting a 20000sqft space but not sure if either the scan or my mind will break.

  • Jonathan, thanks for sharing this. I love the part where you have to do a spin maneuver through the first mantrap. I can only imagine how hard it was to get the hallway done...that is mind blowing. Great job, and thanks again for sharing. That's a pretty swank data center!

  • First I want to appologize for not replying sooner. I have been fairly busy. This scan took 3 days to do the actual scan. 6 weeks in the planning and 6 different visits to the site. It was very close to 300 scans. I suggest getting some traffic cones and painting them black or white. Your local hardware store should have the cones and the paint that is made to paint plastic. You would need them if it is a fairly large open space.

  • Thank You. It was a lot of work, challenging, and a blast all at the same time.

  • Pretty cool indeed!

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