Digital Fusion: Utilizing the Power of Emerging Technology in Visual Design and Storytelling

By Aaron Bilsky

At RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture, the ability to tell a story visually is crucial for clients, colleagues, and the team. Visual storytelling plays a key factor in communication, which is vital to successful relationships between and within those three groups. RVi pulls from a variety of media as part of our visual storytelling, from photos, videos, and gifs, to interactive maps and AI technology. This gives individuals and organizations a deeper look into our work, our products and our projects.

As RVi’s Marketing Specialist and Digital Innovations team member, I get to experience a unique industry perspective on emerging technology’s role in our industry via artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality. These technologies support the design and development of RVi’s projects through visual storytelling. I’ve used these technologies to tell the stories of our people and projects as a photographer and drone pilot, as well as the organizer of the product of the photos and videos that I capture.

Some of my favorite storytelling moments are when I get to travel to some of our various projects, and having the ability to capture the hard work that we have put into these sites in the form of images and videos with the use of handheld cameras and drones. I have always had a love for photography and videography, so being able to use those skills to help tell RVi’s story is like a dream come true for me! Through these project visits, I have been able to not only apply the skills that I have practiced and mastered with my cameras and drones, but I get to learn about and experience the further impact that that the graphic captures have on the firm – being able to communicate our story in a way that is meaningful to me, to the firm, and to our clients and colleagues. Here are a few of the emerging technologies I’ve used to develop and enhance RVi’s storytelling and design work.


New photography techniques give others geographical and emotional context

Site photography is one of the most influential aspects of a story because it can showcase a project in its entirety. To obtain site photography, RVi employs on-foot and in-air techniques, which entail the use of both handheld cameras and drones. Within these devices, smaller technological components such as LIDAR, GIS, fenced targeting, waypointing, and AI, are used to achieve the desired results. We’ve used these methods in situations such as creating interactive GIS maps, with separate layers to capture the full scope and views of a site or project.


AI software gives the opportunity for more creativity and productivity

AI is becoming increasingly relevant in our industry. For example, modern drones have AI that can detect and avoid obstacles, fly pre-programmed patterns, and adjust their flight paths based on their surroundings—all helpful in navigating project sites and providing drone pilots with unparalleled capabilities. AI is also employed when capturing videos with a camera, as a digital stabilizer gimbal is frequently paired with the camera to achieve optimal results. Certain gimbals can use AI to track objects and follow them in a manner that is extremely difficult for a person holding a handheld camera to do, due to the project’s location and landscape or a person’s physical ability to hold a camera steadily.

AR and VR give all strategic partners a perspective

The advancement in VR and AR technologies has really been interesting to watch and be a part of, especially regarding visual technologies. These technologies are becoming more affordable in the world of photography and videography with the use of drones. Through applications and platforms used to experience AR and VR, the experience can go from from large-scale use to the person at home who wants to edit a photo on Photoshop. I expect that these technologies will continue to advance and become further incorporated into how we approach design and the delivery of projects at RVi.

To fully communicate our work, we require visual components to complete the puzzle. By using new technology to capture photographs and videos, we can clarify our story, define ourselves in ways that words cannot, and make the narrative more engaging. Technology is the tool that enables us to tell our story visually, and over recent years, its increase in capabilities has been astonishing. I can’t wait to see the developments that come in the next few years to further allow us to be in the space of the design throughout the process!

Here at RVi, we’re ready to take on the next generation of visual technology to enhance our storytelling potential. How will you tell your story?