A bit of history… The original Windplanner V1 was an offline, per-project application which we introduced in 2014. Then, we redesigned it as an online product and launched it as Windplanner V2, late 2016. It is what our customers are using today. We are honored by the positive reception of our online application.
At the same time, we have learned a lot since the introduction of V2. We have talked with many customers, watched their workflow and listened to their feedback.
With V3 we introduced a lot of improvements: you will immediately notice the entirely new user interface. The edit mode guides you step-by-step through the visualization process. And the view mode ensures no one can make accidental changes in the composition of the wind park during presentations. So stakeholders can play around and view the project from any angle they like.
V3 also has sharper images, instant feedback in the manual masking mode, a PDF report of the project and guidance for correct calibration when uploading new panoramic pictures. Just to name a few enhancements!
Here is an overview of the new items:
- New user interface and workflow
V3 is easier and faster than before. A Learning mode and in-app Help-blocks will guide you through the workflow. Are you already a Windplanner-pro? Then switch to the Professional mode for optimum screen usage.
In the Edit mode, you can shape your project: choose locations, place turbines, create viewpoints, generate animations, etc etc. View is a ‘read-only mode’ for presentations. Observers see the View mode and can no longer accidentally make changes to your project. But they can view the project from all angles, switch between layouts, change wind- and time-settings.
In V3, we have introduced a circle-shaped Context menu. This will pop up if you click in the 2D world, the 3D world or on a turbine. It shows all object-specific actions you likely want to perform. This works faster than going through the menu structure.
The images in V3 are sharper: highest resolution Street View panoramas are now available as well as high-resolution 3D buildings, trees and satellite images. Also, there are new options in V3 for visualizing the shadows and overall 3D performance.
V3 is compatible with High DPI screens, so very sharp images can be shown and we introduced Interface scaling for use on UHD/4K televisions.
The panoramic photos (StreetView or your own) can be calibrated so they match exactly the 3D world. This ensures that the turbines you placed match their exact positions in the panoramas and that they do not “fly in the sky”. Windplanner is the first to incorporate the smart 360-panorama matching tools, for easier and more accurate photo-matching.
In V3, we introduced a Satellite view for better orientation, and an Auto transparency cycle to easier match the photo with the 3D world. Also, there is a new Horizon tool for incorrectly stitched panoramas (i.e. when horizons off-center). Overall, the process has been streamlined.
When viewing the wind farm in a panoramic photo, the masking mode assists you to position the turbine exactly where you want it. For example, behind a certain building, but in front of a hill/mountain/bush.
We have improved the Manual masking with Instant feedback in the panorama.
The 3D models of the turbines in V3 are more detailed and there are more parameters for the turbine lights. Soon, the list of turbines will be extended, and additional characteristics will be added, such as colored wingtips and mast striping.
In V3, you can create a PDF report, with a map of all viewpoints and turbines, plus screenshots of all the viewpoints. Also, more metadata is recorded in the screenshots.
- Animations with new features
In Windplanner, you can generate animations of the viewpoints you have created; the camera moves from viewpoint to viewpoint. So stakeholders can see all aspects of the project and view the plan from every (sensitive) viewing location. New in V3 is the Ease-in and ease-out function, allowing to adjust the parabolic ‘hop’ between viewpoints.
Adding layers with geo-information helps you to pinpoint the best location for your wind farm. There are general layers available in Windplanner, but you can also link to or upload your own layers. V3 has a completely new Layers engine under the hood. Layers can now be sorted manually, or automatically by opacity.
Creating correct and lifelike visualizations has been our profession for over 18 years. We like to share the things we have learned. The new Checklist helps you to make correct visuals with best-practices, tips, and tricks. This avoids potentially wrong or distorted images, which can distract the dialogue with your stakeholders.