Autodesk Labs Project Photofly-Create 3D Models from Photographs Using the Web

Over on Google+ this morning, Autodesk's Shaan Hurley, Autodesk Technology Evangelist, posted, "Great list of free software for students. Back to School with Cool FREE Autodesk Software", linking to his Autodesk Between the Lines blog.

His post, Back to School with Cool FREE Software, lists examples of free software available in the Autodesk Student Community along with several other free software from Autodesk, like Project Photofly.

I'd heard about Project Photofly over the interwebs, but hadn't really looked into it until now. This looks like a cool and useful tool to have in your toolbox. And, it's free. Here's some info from the Autodesk Labs Project Photofly website:


Capturing the reality as-built for various purposes (renovation, rapid energy analysis, add-on design, historic preservation, game development, visual effects, fun, etc.) is now possible using your standard point and shoot digital camera thanks to advanced computer vision technologies made available through Project Photofly.


  • Allows anyone with a digital camera to create near accurate 3D models from photographs using the web.
  • Utilizes common point and shoot digital cameras.
  • Harnesses the power of cloud computing to translate photos into detailed 3D models.
  • 3D models can be manipulated by design software (e.g., AutoCAD, Inventor, 123D).
  • Allows sharing through YouTube, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Watch this Video about Autodesk Labs Project Photofly

Project Photofly is a cloud-based service that converts 2D photographs to 3D computer models. It is available as a free technology preview on Autodesk Labs. This video demonstrates how to take a series of photographs with a standard digital camera to maximize the results.

Couldn't You Use Project Photfly in Your Professional Land Surveyor Practice?

It would seem to me that Project Photofly is something you could use to enhance your surveying and in your professional land surveyor practice. I know, that I'll be giving Project Photofly a whirl, and I'll report back here to give you an update.

Stay tuned!

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, “The Geo-Business Innovator”, helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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One comment on “Autodesk Labs Project Photofly-Create 3D Models from Photographs Using the Web
  1. Hey Ericcolburn,
    Thanks, on a related note, When you have one of those winters when there is one storm after another coming down the pike, then parents start to look for different things to do to keep their kids busy and not turn into couch potatoes or become bug-eyed from video games. Having a supply on hand of innovative one day science fair projects to use on snow days would be a great idea. If you find a resource that passes the “kid cool” test, then you have a really good chance of pulling this off.
    Good Job!