We’ve already discussed the features we’d love to see in the upcoming Matterport Pro3 camera in the previous blog post. But what about the Matterport app?
Matterport does a great job when it comes to both hardware and software, and they dominate the 3d property scanning market. As virtual tour providers in the UK, we use both Matterport Pro2 Camera and the Matterport app at Scene3d.
The whole Matterport system is our loyal companion in providing our clients with breathtaking virtual tours. And in our opinion Matterport virtual tour sets the standard in the industry.
Developing such complex software surely is a hard job, but some features and upgrades in the Matterport app would make our job a hell of a lot easier. We see some room for improvement when it comes to Matterport app processing time, scan limit, and alignment issues. What’re some of the features we’d love the Matterport app to go along with the release of the Matterport Pro3 Camera that will resolve these?
Matterport Processing Time – Faster Alignment
As the saying goes, time is money. Another saying is that great things take time. We agree with both. And as much as we’d love to have the scan ready in the blink of an eye, we’re aware that’s not possible (yet). However, as technology is developing, some things that seemed impossible before, are now the new normal.
We combine the Matterport camera with their companion app thus controlling the camera with the iPad. The whole Matterport system is easy to use and helps us create stunning virtual tours for our clients. But by lowering Matterport App processing time, we’d be able to do our work at a larger scale in less time.
As each scan with the camera has to align with previous scans, that can eat up a lot of our time. How long does Matterport take to process and align scans?
- It takes roughly 20 seconds for the scan itself.
- Alignment with other scans lasts 20-30 seconds.
- With over 200 scans, this results in roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes of waiting for the scans to align.
What we’d love to see improved when it comes to alignment that’s definitely possible?
- If each scan could take only 10 seconds that means that the waiting time for 200 scans would be approximately 33 minutes.
- The time we save with scans would allow larger jobs to be carried out on one camera charge, resulting in making our work more efficient.
Matterport Scan Limit – The More the Merriere
While the Matterport app and camera make a great duo for 3d property scanning, a higher scan limit would come in handy.
The app itself has limits in terms of how many scans it can capture on one model – but why?
- iPad storage doesn’t seem to be a factor with this as each model only uses between 500 MB and 1 GB depending on the size and intricacy.
- If you exceed a certain number the app starts to crash regularly not allowing you to carry on capturing.
- Larger models become slower to use on certain devices – this should be fixed as well.
What does Matterport recommend?
- The recommended limit is 200 scans. However, we’ve managed occasionally to go up to 400 scans with some difficulty.
- Increased scan limit would help us tremendously. Especially when it comes to capturing larger spaces in one model.
Our clients often request this as it’s especially important in commercial real estate and education sectors. The technology already exists, because applications such as the Licia Cyclone app have much higher data capture and no size cap for each model. It would be great if Matterport could increase the scan limit in the next updates which would help us create the immersive experience of virtual tours more efficiently.
Matterport Alignment Issues and Ways to Deal With Them Manually
There’re a few error messages you can get on the Matterport app that signalize there’re misalignments among the scans. What are the causes and can you deal with them manually?
No alignment error Matterport – the main cause of this error is too much ambient light. It’s definitely one of the most common errors you can get. Matterport cameras use infrared light to capture depth data which is used for alignment. When there is too much ambient infrared light Matterport camera basically gets confused and can’t get enough depth data.
Not enough overlapping data between scans. If you got this error message, chances are you’re scanning too far apart. If you want to prevent this, don’t get too far apart from your last scan. Matterport app has to find similarities between scans, and by keeping the distance between scans 5-8 feet, you’ll be good to go.
Pro tip: Mark mirrors ASAP because Matterport can confuse mirrors for another room.
Low overlap error message Matterport. This is due to either excessive ambient light or a great distance between scans. The same advice from above applies to resolve this error as well.
When it comes to misalignments, they are harder to catch because you don’t get an error message which can be irritating. It’s important to remember that misalignments usually appear in empty spaces and hallways with repetitive architecture.
To avoid further problems, check every scan after it’s processed and fix them early to avoid the rest of the model to misalign. You can do it directly from the capture app by making sure there are no misalignments or if there are, delete the scan and capture a new one.
What’re some of the most important things to know to avoid Matterport misalignments?
- Each blue circle is a scan location. When the model is uploaded to Matterport to create the virtual tour the data and position of these scans are used to create the model.
- When a misalignment occurs, the camera places this blue circle in the wrong place causing errors in the creation of the model.
- Misalignments are most likely to occur in areas without many standout features – e.g. corridors or empty offices.
- Because of this, the scan you’ve just captured will position itself in the wrong place on the app causing issues with navigation when the model is uploaded.
- Use different perspectives/planes such as side view and top-down to identify misalignments. You’ll also have a perspective on how the finalized model will look.
At the end of the day, it would be great for the Matterport app to add the feature to manually move misaligned scans into the right position. Once again, the technology for this already exists (Cyclone 360 app is a great example) so it’s a no-brainer for Matterport to include this in the next update.
Automatic Mirror and Window Recognition
Currently, we have to manually mark windows and mirrors as the Matterport app is still not recognizing them. This eats up a lot of our time, and it would be more than awesome to include automatic mirror and window recognition in the next update.
Some of the most common problems we experience in the field are that by adding trim lines in the capture app manually, we aren’t only wasting time, but also there’s more room for errors.
If we accidentally miss a window or a mirror, this can cause issues with navigation as the user can be transported through the window or mirror to a random location in the tour. If technology could take care of this, it would help solve human error which naturally occurs from time to time.
Note Taking or Annotation Feature
Last but not least, directly adding notes to the Matterport app instead of using other apps would tremendously help us to do 3d property scanning more efficiently.
We could do it by taking down information for data tags in specific locations while we’re on site. In that case, we’d easily add information such as underfloor heating in a specific room without having to record that in a different app.
This would make the Matterport app in combination with the Matterport camera an unbeatable system when it comes to 3d property scanning.
Sum Up of the Matterport App Features
All of these improvements and new features we’ve mentioned would make the work of every professional who does 3d property scanning more efficient. This includes our team at Scene3d who uses the Matterport system daily to produce virtual tours for different sectors such as commercial real estate, gyms, restaurants, museums and galleries, the educational sector, and residential properties.
With upgrades in terms of processing time, scan limit, alignment, automatic mirror and window recognition, and note-taking, the Matterport app would dominate the 3d property scanning for the years to come. And we’re not saying Matterport isn’t doing it already, but rather admire their efforts and motivate them to keep doing the great work!