We caught up with Head of Digital Capture, Amy Cheeseman, to find out more about what we mean when we talk about virtual tours, and how they can prove extremely useful for construction and asset management projects:

Hi Amy! Tell us a bit more about what a virtual tour is?

A virtual tour is a series of 360-degree images linked together to create an immersive and visually rich navigable environment.

What information do you need to create one?

A virtual tour can be created used any panoramic image, be it from a dedicated 360-degree camera, a series of photos stitched together or computer renders.

Within the panoramic images a variety of media can be added to enhance the user experience such as documents, videos, photos, web pages, and even questions or quizzes to ensure the user has understood the information within the virtual tour.

Why would a business find a virtual tour useful? 

There are several ways virtual tours can be utilised:

  • Planning and Consultation

Virtual tours can be used for a variety of tasks on a project. When communication how a project may look during planning and consultation, a virtual tour can be a simple but effective way of visualising a concept to those unfamiliar with interpreting traditional plans and drawings. Viewing in a virtual reality headset can create a truly immersive experience. 

  • Stakeholder Engagement

Creating a tour at the start of a project allows all project stakeholders to understand the complexities of a site, engage with sub-contractors for accurate scoping and de-risk a project by have a moment in time capture of the site.

The addition of mixed media such as documents and videos can make a virtual tour a powerful tool for site inductions during a project.

  • Health & Safety

Incorporating multiple choice questions allow a virtual tour to be used for health and safety training and inductions, ensuring a user has fully understood the information through tracking and reporting their answers.

  • Virtual Inspections

Instead of a ream of paper detailing a buildings condition, an engineers notes can be directly annotated into a virtual tour creating an easy to use virtual inspection.

Simply put, a virtual tour has benefits through the entire lifecycle of a project from inception to decommissioning.

What are the key benefits?

To highlight the main benefits of a virtual tour, they can:

  • Reduce the need for site visit
  • Reduce health and safety risks
  • Reduce project carbon footprint
  • Enrich visualisation of environments
  • Add a range of mixed media to enhance communication
  • Simplify user interface for maximum reach
  • Improved collaboration and understanding
  • Be view in virtual reality for fully immersive experience 

Project Example

Our team were recently appointed by Dales Marine Services Ltd to produce accurate 3D layouts of two pilot boats to support their upcoming engine refits.

To provide the client and design team with further insight, a virtual tour was created of each pilot boat to provide a navigable visual environment which added further context to the project. This in conjunction with the 3D point cloud mitigated the need for re-visit to obtain addition measurements or information.

Find out more about the project here >

View the virtual tour here >