Bridging the Gap in Unstructured Data: Cyclone REGISTER 360 vs. CORE

Moving toward feature parity of Leica Cyclone CORE and Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360

Leica Cylone REGISTER 360 - unstructured data

This is the second in a series of expert insights focused on bringing Cyclone REGISTER 360 into alignment with the popular toolset of Cyclone CORE. Please refer back to the first in this series on UCS and Control for more information.

This expert insight will focus on the gaps that exist in the realm of unstructured data support—an increasingly important topic as Leica Geosystems offers more autonomous solutions based on mobile sensor platforms, including the BLK2GO, BLK ARC and BLK2FLY.

Marketing image of the Leica BLK ARC, Leica BLK2GO, and Leica BLK2FLY against black background

Image 1:BLK ARC, BLK2GO, and BLK2FLY

Unstructured data is data without a regular row, column grid. All mobile data and LGS data is unstructured whereas all data collected by static scanners (i.e. RTC360, BLK360, P-Series) is structured with the data in row column format.

With the 2022 release, Cyclone REGISTER 360 will support all the unstructured data types that Cyclone CORE supports. This goes beyond supporting new sensors to also include the popular LGS format and third-party unstructured formats, LAS, unstructured E57, PTS and more.

The addition of these unstructured data formats supports users who are branching into these autonomous solutions and ensures that users can round trip data through Cyclone REGISTER 360, meaning that files they receive from collaborators can be integrated with newly imported sensor data and combined into a single project. Likewise, it offers users the ability to take in these unstructured formats and push them through the Leica Geosystems downstream workflow by publishing them as LGS, opening them directly in CloudWorx or creating a new Cyclone ENTERPRISE project with the data which provides a pathway to CloudWorx, Cyclone 3DR, Map360 and the Powered by JetStream family of products.

For certain industries, unstructured data is the future of laser scanning. As these autonomous solutions continue to improve and gain traction in those industries, the model of continuous scanning could fully replace static scanning. It allows users to capture a larger area more quickly. However, it still has its drawbacks—lower accuracy and data fidelity are still being worked through and remain an area of concern for industries that have a longer record of integrating laser scanning and for whom accuracy is paramount.

As mobile sensor data improves, it is becoming accepted in sectors where historically, only structured data was used. From plant and processing to BIM, civil survey, and other non-standard industries like movie production, GIS and city planning, unstructured data is becoming more and more common in standard deliverables. Because of the potentially large areas scanned, the need to register 100’s of static scans versus far fewer unstructured scans, is a huge advantage in time-saving in the field and the office.

And it’s not only Leica’s mobile solutions that are shaking up the 3D Scanning world—third-party mobile scanners are cropping up, and Leica Cyclone products remain the best solution for those seeking to fuse data from different sensors and different manufacturers. It is important that we continue to provide a solution for both experienced and new users to leverage the benefits of sensor fusion.

To that end, Cyclone REGISTER 360 2022.0.0 will support the following unstructured data formats and post-import tools to facilitate the use of unstructured data:

  • Import of BLK2GO data
  • Import of BLK2FLY data
  • Import of BLK ARC data
  • Import of Pegasus MMS data
  • Import of unstructured PTS
  • Import of TXT
  • Import/Export of unstructured E57
  • Import /Export of unstructured RCP
  • Import/Export of LAS
  • Import/Export of LGS (including those without Normals)
  • WayPoint creation post-import
  • Enhanced Suggested link creation
  • Link creation criteria

New Format Support

The addition of these new formats can have wide-reaching implications for users. Whereas Cyclone CORE has traditionally been the place where all data, from any scanner, any source, could be combined, that is now true of Cyclone REGISTER 360, meaning that users can take advantage of the smart automation and modern UI of Cyclone REGISTER 360 while also getting the powerful format support traditionally found in Cyclone CORE. In particular, the addition of unstructured E57—the most popular neutral point cloud format means that just about any data from any third-party product can now be imported into Cyclone REGISTER 360, registered with other data and published out either in a neutral format or specifically into Leica’s downstream workflow.

There are a couple of things that users should note as they begin importing unstructured data. Be aware that Auto Cloud, Auto Target and Auto Sphere import options are not supported for unstructured data. Unstructured data imports containing a large number of points can also take longer to import than a structured data set of the same point count.

Adding these features and functions was informed by the tools that are already available inside of Cyclone CORE.

LGS was the first unstructured format supported by Cyclone REGISTER 360. As a Leica-native format, it is an area that we have continued to improve and advance over the years. This release introduces some improvements to the way that LGS files are handled. LGS import time has been improved by not processing all WayPoints for registration upon import. This greatly speeds up import. If, after import, a user selects a WayPoint to register with, that WayPoint will be processed as it enters Visual Alignment. This ensures that unused WayPoints are not processed unnecessarily, consuming valuable time and increasing the size of the project.

WayPoint Creation Post Import

The ability to create WayPoints—or pseudo-Setup positions—replicates the features in Cyclone CORE known as Insert Camera and Insert Camera Height. A WayPoint (or inserted Camera) is a synthetic Setup that only contains a position and associated imagery generated from that position upon creation. Because a WayPoint is generated from the scan data, it doesn’t contain a traditional pano; instead, it contains a pano of the scan data.

Side by side comparison of a regular image of a building and a point cloud image of the same building.

Image 2: Comparison of a traditional pano image and a point cloud pano.

When the BLK2GO was introduced, Cyclone REGISTER 360 added the ability to create WayPoints along the trajectory of the Walk at a set interval as part of the import process. Now, however, users can create additional WayPoints anywhere within their project—not just on the trajectory. This functionality is available for any project (structured or unstructured), allowing users to scale up the navigability of their data set without increasing the project size.

Image of WayPoints displayed on a computer screen.

Image 3: WayPoints are inserted along the trajectory of the mobile data capture. Additional WayPoints can be added as needed post-import.

In most ways, it is similar—you can measure on the pano, add GeoTags or Snapshots and jump to other Setup/WayPoint positions in downstream applications. WayPoints support easy navigation within a mobile sensor dataset. You can jump between them as you would Setups and you can create Snapshots from them within TruView. However, because these inserted WayPoints may be far from the actual capture location, it is important to consider that they may have sparser data and a greater error than those which are on the trajectory or close to a Setup.

Suggested Links and Link Creation Criteria

In Cyclone REGISTER 360 2022.0.0, users can add up to 5000 suggested links per Bundle (up from 500). Suggested links are a graphical way to draw attention to possible additional links in a Bundle. Once the command is used, dashed white lines appear within the Bundle. Adding additional links tightens a Bundle making  it more rigid and accurate. Users of Cyclone CORE will be familiar with the concept of adding links known as constraints in Cyclone CORE.

Unlike in Cyclone CORE, however, Cyclone REGISTER 360 offers advanced Link Creation Criteria that give the user a great deal of control over the quality of the links created without having to QA each link manually. A user can set minimum cloud-to-cloud error and minimum overlap per link. By default, Link creation Criteria is set to 12mm or ~.5 inch for cloud-to-cloud and 20% for minimum overlap, but this can be adjusted from within the Settings. Any links created by this feature must meet the link criteria, or the link is not created, thereby ensuring that only links meeting the user’s minimum quality criteria are used in the Bundle. Users can opt to override these settings during Visual Alignment on a link-by-link basis.

An example of suggested links are displayed as dashed lines on a computer screen in Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360.

Image 4: Suggested links are displayed as white dashed lines. Users can set a maximum for the quantity of suggested links to manage their automatic creation.


With the improvements to Cyclone REGISTER 360 to improve its handling of UCS’ and Control and now support for unstructured data, the gaps between Cyclone CORE and Cyclone REGISTER 360 has dramatically shrunk. There remain a few key areas of improvement that will be tackled over the next major releases that will result in full, functional parity of the products and allow all users to make the switch to the next generation Cyclone REGISTER 360. These improvements include support for even larger projects, resection and traverse support for those who rely upon DAC-equipped scanners for their survey workflows, and a global constraint list to support users who rely heavily upon targets.

We encourage users to become an active part of our road-mapping process participating in the Customer Feedback Programme. You can submit your feedback and feature requests by clicking the link.

Customer feedback and requests are an important part of our product development plans, with between 20-30% of customer suggestions being implemented within a year while others are added to our long-term roadmaps.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on the improvements discussed in this expert insight, as well as your suggestions for future improvements.

Guy Cutting
Senior Product Manager, Leica Cyclone
Reality Capture Division

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