“He used point clouds from laser scans along with ground and aerial imagery to create georeferenced and photo-realistic 3D models, renders, and animations.”
Talent and passion attract opportunity. And, throughout his career, Derek deBlois has feasted at a veritable smorgasbord of opportunities to use laser scanning, point clouds, and 3D models to create streamlined, efficient, and comprehensive mapping and modeling solutions for his clients. Working for the City of Montreal and REVISION3D, he modeled 3D environments in an array of industries. “I’ve been lucky enough to model everything from heritage buildings to large refineries,” says Derek. Specifically, he’s been involved in industrial, civil, commercial, residential, and institutional 3D modeling.
After studying civil engineering, Derek became a 3D modeler for the city of Montreal. He had always loved maps and 3D models and was excited about the opportunity to produce precise photo-realistic modeling of terrain, buildings, and infrastructure. He modeled underground conduits, tunnels, subways, overpasses, bridges, roads, buildings, parks, and more, processing point clouds acquired from Leica scanners and other data-capturing solutions.
After three and a half years with the city, Derek felt the entrepreneurial itch. He had dabbled part-time as a freelance graphic designer, but he now saw the opportunity to expand his business into 3D as-built model creation. He used point clouds from laser scans along with ground and aerial imagery to create georeferenced and photo-realistic 3D models, renders, and animations.
In the industrial arena, Derek mastered representations of existing oil and gas installations, mining sites, and equipment as well as chemical, automotive and manufacturing plants. Civil sector projects included roads, bridges, overpasses, tunnels, airports, seaports, and train and subway stations. Derek also completed models of an array of commercial, institutional, and residential spaces, including banks, universities, and even stadiums. He also did not let national borders stand in his way, completing modeling for projects all over the globe.
What does it take to complete a 3D model for an entire oil refinery? It seems like the challenge might be equal to that of a climber reaching the peak of Mount Everest. Derek, who is known for working long hours, learning fast, and being efficient, was the right man for the job. He conquered the monumental task of modeling a refinery from point cloud data alone. “The client wanted everything documented from A to Z. It took months of dedicated, detailed modeling. It was a large investment for them, but they knew the return of having accurate models of the whole plant would be immense,” says Derek.
“Derek, who is known for working long hours, learning fast, and being efficient, was the right man for the job.”
When Derek learned of the position at Leica Geosystems as a consultative sales representative, he knew it was custom-made for him. With practically an encyclopedic knowledge on the software side of the laser scanning process, he was certain he could help others reap the rewards of improved laser scanning practices. He assists Leica’s prospects and customers in determining the best ways to accomplish their laser scanning projects and creating deliverables using laser scanning and point cloud software. “Modeling from laser scan data can become complex on the software side. My expertise allows me to help my clients get the most out of laser scanning while minimizing the potential problems they may face,” says Derek. “People get bogged down in the massive amounts of data. I can help them determine the best software solution for their particular needs, and provide some ideas of how to go about a project.” It’s clear that Derek enjoys having the opportunity to establish long-term relationships with his clients, providing them with reliable, knowledgeable advice and service whenever they need it.
Derek takes pride in showing plant engineers how to complete as-built projects more accurately, comprehensively, and quickly than they could using traditional methods. Then, he can help them with best practices in modeling, helping to ensure they avoid design interferences. He also helps architects with Building Information Modeling (BIM) and civil engineers who need to assess the conditions of or plan for new highways and roads. Finally, he works with surveyors, showing them how to expand their businesses into an array of markets. Multi-talented and multilingual, he also offers training and technical support in French and English.
What does he like most about his job? Being able to help people. “I’m passionate about this technology,” he says. “To see people use it more and more is great. When customers tell me how well their first project went, it’s a great feeling. I know that I’ve successfully helped them.”
With all his professional accomplishments, it may seem like Derek would not have much time for anything else. Not true. He is married with five children. And in his elusive ‘free time,’ he enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, and camping with his kids.