Matterport Raises Awareness of San Francisco’s Homeless Population with 3D Scanning

When people generally think about the city of San Francisco, their minds likely wander toward the progressive culture, the tech bubble of Silicon Valley, or the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. But the truth of the matter, which was recently highlighted by the amount of money the city poured into hosting Super Bowl 50, is that homelessness has become a major issue in San Francisco.

As technology continues to boom in this culturally driven city, housing prices and, in turn, homelessness is on a constant rise (one recent survey puts the number of homeless people in San Francisco around 7,500). But just because Silicon Valley may be partly responsible for the skyrocketing property values, that doesn’t mean that some tech companies aren’t sympathetic to this homelessness epidemic.


The locally based 3D visualization company Matterport, along with the help of Capture It 3D, have decided to place us right in the middle of where the mainstream media isn’t likely to go, within a number of San Francisco’s homeless encampments. Using their own technological means to raise awareness for the homeless, the Matterport team and Capture It 3D owner Bill Robinson walked down and 3D scanned a few stretches of these camps.

Matterport’s 3D camera

These captured 3D images were then transformed into a visual walkthrough, allowing anyone to ‘virtually’ put themselves in the middle of San Francisco’s homelessness problem from the comfort of their own computer chair. All of the 3D scanning was done during the Super Bowl 50 weekend, helping to bring an important issue to the forefront during a time where everyone was focused on the ‘big game’.

It’s certainly an interesting and respectable project by Matterport, who has previously used their 3D image capturing technology to create VR-based real estate tours. Using their 3D Showcase platform, Matterport and Capture It 3D take you on a realistic and disenchanting journey down the homeless camps that stretch endlessly down San Francisco’s 13th Street. Now that their hosting of the Super Bowl is all said and done, perhaps the city can come together to solve this already wide-spread homelessness problem. At the very least, it’s nice to see the bright minds in Silicon Valley use their technological prowess to advocate and raise awareness for the less fortunate. You can take a step into one of the bleak, but realistic, virtual homeless camps captured by Matterport and Capture It 3D here.