Laser scanning from heights
Author: Renata Barradas
Laser scanning has revolutionised the surveying profession in the recent years. With the possibility to capture large amounts of data in a relatively short time, 3D laser scanners are must-have instruments for collecting data to produce outputs that range from a simple topographic survey to a 3D model to preserve cultural heritage.
As processes digitise and businesses digitalise, surveyor firms around the world, like Scan&Go, are adapting new technologies to offer better, faster and more specialised services to their clients. In collaboration with Leica Geosystems, Scan&Go, an Italian company leader in the field of topography and 3D high-definition survey, performed a functional test of its vehicle/tripod installation for 3D laser scanning using the Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner.
Tailored solution for 3D laser scanning
To achieve a faster and more effective use of terrestrial laser scanners, Scan&Go creates systems that can be installed on any type of vehicle or on a pneumatic pole to allow easy movement between scan sessions and ensure greater measurement range.
Mounted on the Scan&Go System, the RTC360 captured at 2 million points per second the centre of Castelvetro di Modena, Italy, in only a few minutes. The Scan&Go team mounted the RTC360 on Scan&Go’s level lift roof and automatic LP16R leveller. For the first scan, the team captured the centre of Castelvetro di Modena from a 3-metre height. The remaining three scans were done at a 6-metre altitude from the ground using Scan&Go vehicle installation.
“The height of the scanner allows to overcome the obstacles present and increases the scanning range and its accuracy of measurement,” explained Cristina Valchuk, sales manager at Scan&Go. “All scans are perfectly levelled –this eliminates vertical variations. Our satisfaction of the test made is very high. This approach ensures the safety of the operator and the instrumentation in the field and increases the productivity of the RTC360.”
The aim of the test was to verify the potential of the new RTC360 in combination with the Scan&Go system for laser scanning in mobile “stop” and “go” mode with the instrumentation installed on the vehicle. The Scan&Go team also wanted to test the correct functioning of the Visual Inertial System (VIS), performing the automatic point-cloud registration in the field, with speeds higher than those achieved by foot. The point cloud collected at a vehicle speed ranging from 10 to 20 kilometres and registered in real-time surprised the team.
“The results obtained with the RTC360 are very good. During the scans, the system is very stable ensuring maximum measurement accuracy,” said Valchuk. “It is very fast because the 3D laser scanner is mounted on the vehicle and you do not have to disassemble anything during the movements between one scan and the other.”
From raw data to smart data
Point clouds are only a set of data points in space until stakeholders can visualise and interact with them. 3D models obtained from the point clouds help to inform the perception of reality and provide a georeferenced digital base for operations. Scan&Go creates 3D models for their clients so they can document, manage, renew or maintain any assets or environments. After post-processing data with Cyclone REGISTER 360, experts created a 3D model of Castelvetro di Modena.
Designed with simple and highly automated workflows in mind, the RTC360 solution uses edge computing to stream scan data to a tablet in real time and automatically processes the scan data to provide real-time quality control and data registration in the field.
With automatic pre-registration, high-quality point clouds were immediately available for the Scan&Go team. Quality assurance and completeness checks were also done in the field with the Cyclone FIELD 360 mobile application running on a tablet. This reduced the complexity of the data capture process in the field and saved the team members time in the field and in the office since they were able to leave the project site with a pre-registration that can be finalised in Cyclone REGISTER 360 much more quickly than raw scan data. Scan&Go is aware that time savings, workflow simplifications and productivity gains automatically translate into increased profits and accelerated paybacks.
Reality capture systems from Geosystems increase the flexibility and mobility of professionals to map, geo-position, capture and extract features over LiDAR or photogrammetry measurements in restricted areas with millimetric precision in an extremely agile and fast way.