Have you ever been in a situation when someone knows more about what you created than you do? Strange feeling to say the least. Then there are those who will take something you have created and repurpose it for something you never designed it for. That happens quite often with the API which is why it is so exciting to be involved with it. You simply cannot tell what people will do with it. In some ways it's like looking at all the pent up potential of a baby and imagining the possibilities.
Well there is one person who has often manage to take the Revit API and do things with it that we never expected or planned for. He was the first person to create a modeless dialog that worked with Revit effectively and then followed that in Revit 2011 with using the Analysis Visualization Framework to leverage point clouds in Revit. That person is Matt Mason who works at Rand/IMAGINiT formerly Avatech Solutions. He has an uncanny knack for going beyond the obvious. The first time he talked to us about the Scan to BIM product he started with a question - "Is Autodesk thinking about supporting point clouds in Revit?". After we told him we do plan on it but do not have anything in the product for Revit 2011 he told us he had figured out a way to do it. The first thing that came to mind was "Good luck buddy" but I think what we said was "We would love to see what you are thinking." What he showed us was an early prototype of Scan to BIM and it was already quite impressive in what it could do. He identified a few issues and we helped him use the API more efficiently and some months later Avatech release Scan to BIM. It is the first commercial product (I know of) built on top of Revit that leverages point clouds. It is also one of the first non-Autodesk commercial product that uses the Analysis Visualization Framework.
I invite you to take a look. Given the relevance of point clouds in both new and renovation construction and the potential it holds to accelerate construction and reduce time and errors, it is worth learning more about it. The fact that the tool integrates fully into Revit is very compelling because it enables you to do your work in a single consistent environment. This eliminates data loss and increase your efficiency because you stay in a single UI environment allowing you to leverage existing Revit capabilities.
What do you thing? Have you used the product? Do you find the product interesting? Do you know of any other point cloud products that work inside Revit? Comment away!