Getting smarter about laser scanning

Getting Smart about Laser Scanning
Author: Monica Miller Rodgers 

Point Cloud Processing. 

It’s a phrase that can strike fear into the heart of any laser scanning professional. The massive amounts of data. The long hours of painstakingly stitching together detailed point clouds. The even longer road to a quality checked, validated and certified 3D project, compounded by complexity in registration workflow, makes it so difficult to bring data from the field into the office to a final deliverable. Is it any wonder then why just the mere mention of the phrase can be so debilitating?

Laser scanning professionals and those just getting started with the technology no longer need to fear, though, as the complex process of registration and point cloud processing just got a whole lot smarter.

New offerings bring relief

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Leica Geosystems has recently released two new offerings to relieve the historical pains associated with point cloud processing.

“We see a surge in demand for 3D digital reality data across many industries and a growing pressure to deliver final and professional results quickly. To meet this growing demand, we embarked on a fundamental technology project to overcome the various data processing bottlenecks witnessed in the industry,” said Faheem Khan, vice-president, Business Development for Leica Geosystems. “From import time, registration automation, quality management to deliverable production, we have fundamentally improved every step of the data processing pipeline to deliver a new user experience, speed and automation where we can.”

The new Leica Cyclone REGISTER 360 registration software combines ease-of-use and automation with high accuracy and reliability. With a point cloud technology unparalleled in the industry, import times are more than 10 times faster than before, point clouds are centralised and archived, and an unlimited amounts of data can be streamed over the cloud or deployed via portable USB sticks.

There are three main areas to Cyclone REGISTER 360:

1) A prep staging area to set up the import process in a simple method, ensuring the best initial registration possible. The user simply has to drag and drop the data and Cyclone does the rest: running multiple automated processes in the background to extract targets, create normals, index the data, clean outliers, perform pattern matching and image alignment, as well as an auto cloud-to-cloud and a fully networked registration. The user simply pushes a single button and the result is a final deliverable ready for review.

2) New visual Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) tools to quickly check and validate the registration. These processes are often neglected because of the inherent complexity and lack of automation. With Cyclone REGISTER 360, the process of QA/QC is built into the heart of the product.

3) Finalising reporting area to create a high value report of the data processing process. Providing tools to batch deliver datasets into the various formats and outputs that are required – again all with the single push of a button. The goal is to make the end-to-end process highly productive and automated and to free up the operator for other productive tasks from these ultra-long transactions.

“With a focus on building quality control into the heart of product, we encourage professionals and non-professionals alike to follow surveying and industry best practices to generate accurate results through a strong adherence, simple yet robust workflow,” said Khan.

The second release finally brings laser scanning into the cloud. The new Leica TruView Cloud Services is an easy, reliable and secure platform for quickly sharing digital reality data within a project community, globally, in a cost effective and efficient manner. The platform connects users, locations and capabilities while allowing the administrator to quickly decide who is able access what data anywhere in the world.

TruView Cloud Services offers Snapshot and GeoTag features with an available software development kit. These powerful tools enable project communication, workflows, and asset data and application integration. Users can ingest data from GIS/AM/FM/Information Management solutions and can connect asset data with digital reality content through the process of automatic GeoTag analysis inside Cyclone.

“TruView Cloud Service enable scanning professionals to collaborate with organisations worldwide and pay only for the services and consumption they need,” said Khan. “With a simple upload operation from the field or the office, TruViews are created from any sensor.

“TruView Cloud Services are enabled and managed by the Cyclone Cloud operations team – freeing up scanning professionals from the complex Information Technology demands to maintain highly available cloud servers and services.”

Smarter for all

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Both Cyclone REGISTER 360 and TruView Cloud Services are compatible with the entire line of Leica Geosystems laser scanners. From the professional use of the P-Series ScanStations to the more consumer use of the new BLK360 imaging laser scanner, these new offerings simplify registration, visualisation and collaboration. Users can take advantage of the extended range, robust survey-grade output the ScanStation delivers and densify the project with a “swarm” of BLK360 scans – all registered and combined automatically with the various tools and processes offered through Cyclone REGISTER 360.

Through these new offerings, data is available into multiple industry, vertical software solutions with a simple open operation – no imports and no exports. Powered by Leica JetStream, the simplified point cloud access and ultra-high-speed rendering platform, 3D data can be imported from any major sensor into any major software.

“One hallmark of our offering is in providing a multi-sensor, multi-vendor connected ecosystem,” said Khan. “All of our software products share a common technology, so an expensive and time consuming data export operation is not required.”

The new Cyclone REGISTER 360 and TruView Cloud Services take out the scariness of point cloud registration and processing. Whether a plant manager needs a better understanding of the shelf life of his pipes, a crime scene forensics investigator needs to accurately analyse the evidence and share the data, or an architect needs to quickly and simply capture a façade, these new offerings simplify the process for smarter laser scanning.

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