Open Source Laser Scanner

Ciclop-Open-Source-3D-Scanner-CreatedLooks like the wizards at LulzBot and BQ have teamed up to develop a fairly advanced open source laser scanner product offering for just $400. The Ciclop is fitted with a Logitech C270 HD camera and 2 class 1 line lasers that can be adjusted to scan an object within 2-8 minutes and offers a laser scanning area of 250 mm in diameter and 205 mm in height, but the overall concept is impressive and worth a look for certain applications.

By purchasing, building, and sharing your Ciclop experience with others you will be directly contributing to the further advancement of Free Software, Libre Innovation, and Open Source Hardware.

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USIBD Digital Reality Symposium 2015

Now is the time to make your plans for the USIBD Digital Reality Symposium 2015. This ground breaking event deserves the support of our industry and I hope you will pass the news along to your contacts. The event is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on September 16 and 17.

The focus of this event is going to be on real world lessons learned and how you can turn that information into your competitive advantage. The speaker list features a number of industry leaders.

You will get your return on investment at this event. I hope to see you there.

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The iCar?

appleThis report says there is concrete evidence that Apple is planning to design and build a driverless car, or at the very least provide software to other manufacturers.

The UK’s Guardian newspaper has published correspondence between Apple engineer Frank Fearon and officials from the GoMentum Station car testing facility.

“We would … like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it],” the newspaper quotes Fearon as writing in May.

GoMentum Station is in Concord, a city around 30 minutes’ drive north east of San Francisco and is specifically set up to test driverless car technology.

The facility has 20 miles or so of road that recreates real-world scenarios to test onboard software.

Apple’s vice-president Jeff Williams said earlier this year that the car is the “ultimate mobile device” suggesting that the technology giant may be planning to turn the automotive sector on its head. Apple fans have dubbed the as-yet unmade prototype the iCar.


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Lidar-Lite v2

home-hero-product-imageAt $115 this DIY lidar sensor is certain to grab a lot of people’s attention. The Lidar-Lite version 2 sensor from PulsedLight is now available for applications that range from collision avoidance to UAS mapping.

Let me know if you are experimenting with this.

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SLAM – Based Mapping

realIn a move aimed at stimulating the growth of new mapping applications, Real Earth has partnered with Velodyne LiDAR to lower the cost of entry for creation of high quality LiDAR-sourced maps – without reliance on GPS.

As part of the collaboration, Real Earth will offer users free access to its web-based software, which processes Velodyne LiDAR data and converts it into maps. Because costly GPS and inertial navigation systems are not required, these next-generation maps are significantly more affordable than those developed with standard mapping systems. Real Earth’s web-based service enables users to upload laser scans and receive dense 3D reconstructions in return. Standard CAD tools can then view and manipulate the registered point clouds.

“The speed and ease with which these LiDAR maps are created is nothing short of remarkable,” said Dave Duggins, Project Manager at Real Earth. “Imagine someone walking through a 12-story parking structure and five minutes later having a stunning registered 3D point cloud. That’s what we’re so excited about.”

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USGS Evaluating New Lidar Systems

woolThe U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has contracted with Woolpert to evaluate new lidar (light detection and ranging) technologies to assess the suitability to support the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP).

This use of the single photon and Geiger mode lidar for this evaluation is new to the commercial market, according to Woolpert Project Director John Gerhard.

“This technology provides the ability to fly at higher altitudes while acquiring data at an increased point density,” Gerhard said. “The USGS has asked us to provide an evaluation of this sensor technology in support of 3DEP.”

The USGS is developing the 3DEP initiative to respond to the growing need for high-quality topographic data nationwide, to address issues that include flood-risk management, precision agriculture, natural resource management, infrastructure management and hazard mitigation.

Woolpert will then evaluate the data, conduct an accuracy analysis, develop final data products and provide a comprehensive report to the USGS by the end of the year. I hope this will be made public.

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Is Laser Scanning Becoming a Commodity?

lidarIn his Confessions of a Hired Gun blog post this week Sam Billingsley builds a case for laser scanning services becoming a commodity. I am not completely convinced, but he raises  a number of important issues that I think you should consider.

All along I have believed that the main focus in a service business should be about solving customer’s problems. If that is the business model it is hard for me to buy into the commodity argument.


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ASPRS UAS Mapping 2015 Reno

The second annual UAS technical symposium sponsored by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) announces the industry leaders in the UAS commercial industry who are confirmed for UAS MAPPING 2015 RENO! The program uniquely includes test course flights, data processing workshops, live demonstration, and a strong technical program focused on “best practice” for collection and processing of data from UAS.

Technical presenters include Mike Tully of Aerial Services, Inc., Dr. Bernd Lutz of Multirotor Service Drone, Baptiste Tripard of SenseFly, Wolfgang Juchmann of Velodyne, Antoine Martin of Pix4D, Keith Fieldhouse of Kitware, Tom Breen of Headwall-Photonics, Jeremy Eastwood of Drone Deploy, to name a few.

Visionaries such as Jonathan Evans of Skyward, Keven Gambold of Unmanned Experts, Colin Snow of Drone Analyst, Stewart Baillie of Unmanned Systems Canada, and Don Weigel of Airware round out the technical program providing a vision of our UAS future in keeping with the symposium theme of “Change is in the Air.”

This was a highly rated conference last year and I am sure

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Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute

The ASCE has created a new institute that includes the surveying profession. UESI – refers to Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute. There will be a lot more information to come on this, but for now as noted in the previous blog we are beginning work on a new surveying engineering manual and in getting all of the admin bases covered.

I have high hopes for this endeavor as I believe with the ability of ASCE behind it we have a lot going for us.

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ASCE Engineering Surveying Manual

As a follow up to the previous post the Geomatics committee is going to be re-writing the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Engineering Surveying Manual. It is being written primarily for practicing professionals who have a need to understand the  principles of surveying engineering. It is not going to be a theoretical treatise or textbook. It is not a how to or best practices manual.

That being said the team is soliciting input from industry on general topics of interest. If you have a particular concern please forward your thoughts.

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