Lidar News Today – February 2, 2016

Blog Forum AdLidar News Today has hit the street with a summary of the important news items of the past week in one location. Learn how Lanmar CTO and Lead Modeler Larry Kleinkemper has found a powerful new software that can handle the truly complicated 3D piping data extraction projects.

And Paul DiGiacobbe from Maser Consulting looks back on the work he and his team did to advance mobile lidar mapping to the point where now it is quickly becoming the preferred solution for many corridor mapping projects.

There is also news on an important software update from Riegl and how Ryan Hacker at TruePoint Laser Scanning is seeing the use of 3D laser scanning becoming more accepted in the construction arena.

Enjoy and please contact me if you would like to get the story out about your company.

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3D Utility Coordination in Michigan

spicerNow this was an encouraging follow-up to the previous post. Eric Barden, a Principal with the Spicer Group reports that progress is being made in Michigan with utility as-builting standards. The Michigan Utility Coordination Committee – MUCC is developing the Geospatial Utility Infrastructure Data Exchange initiative. GUIDE is set to radically change the 3D spatial awareness and spatial quality of underground utility information in Michigan.

Eric reports, “Right now we are writing the full standard for all utilities.  MDOT will require full implementation in about 12 months.  Any new utility that is installed in their ROW will be required to be surveyed in full 3D and submitted in accordance with this standard.”

That is great news. Must read report. Thanks Eric.

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Utility As-Builts – Mandate Needed

utilityI am writing a paper for an upcoming conference being sponsored by a new ASCE institute – Utility Engineering and Survey Institute, or UESI. The topic I am pursuing is the use of mobile lidar to collect as-built utility locations.

Believe it or not, the current standard practice is not good. If there is an as-built it is usually done it is likely to be a sketch with ties to physical objects on the surface with the depth recorded below grade, not an elevation based on a universal datum, like sea level or any real world coordinates.

James Anspach has been doing a lot of work on this as the Chair of the ASCE 38-02 committee. Have a look at this presentation. He is trying to get people to adopt a standard for as-builting utilities. I am sure it seems obvious to most of us, particularly in the case of underground utilities, but it is not happening.

Whether it be mobile or static lidar we all know that in a few short minutes the critical location information in 3D can be obtained with laser scanning. Now can someone convince the owners that this it is inexcusable not to do this?

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Lufthansa and DJI Sign Deal To Develop Commercial Drones

luftThis is the first time I have seen a major airline announce their involvement with drones. In this case its Lufthansa Aerial Services and DJI teaming up on a wide range of potential services. In addition to inspection of infrastructure, such as wind turbines this article also indicates they are looking at inspecting runways and railroads.

If you are not familiar with DJI they are a Chinese company that is the world leader in the sale of drones.

A sister company that specializes in maintenance, Lufthansa Technik, is trying out drones for inspecting aircraft exteriors. Lufthansa also says it envisions a “one-stop UAV-shop” providing services through its consulting arm, drone pilot training with its flight training company, “or even the provision of drone insurance solutions through Delvag, Lufthansa’s in-house insurer.”

Thanks to Bill Gutelius for the tip.

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3D Going Mainstream in Construction

hackerDespite the fact that the title of this article in Construction Dive alludes to the idea of 3D laser scanning being like “x-ray vision”, it does report on a positive development that is taking place in this important industry. Slowly, as is typically the case in the construction industry, but surely contractors are beginning to see the benefits of documenting progress and compliance with laser scanning.

Ryan Hacker, president of TruePoint Laser Scanning, headquartered in Toledo, OH, said 3-D laser scanning, particularly if outsourced as a service, is more affordable than it’s ever been, even for smaller companies, which he said might be even better suited for the technology.

“Small companies tend to be more agile when it comes to adopting new technology or upgrading their computers and having the latest and greatest software. So I would tell you that small companies are in the best position to take advantage of it,” he told Construction Dive. “Maybe not to buy their own scanners, but certainly to utilize the technology.”

It’s an encouraging read.

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UAV Inspection Preview

cyberhawkIf you want a glimpse into what the future might look like for the use of UAVs to carry out inspections have a look at the Cyberhawk operation. Focused primarily on the oil and gas industry and based in the UK the company claims to be the “the world leader in remote aerial inspection and surveying” operating in the North Sea, Africa and Asia.

There is no question this is a powerful surveying technology in the hands of trained professionals. They certainly have a head start on the companies in the U.S. that for the most part are on hold awaiting the FAA rules.

They are looking for partners.


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Mobile Video Learning, Certification and Support

retrieveImagine that you have an app on your smart phone that can access a highly searchable library of video-based knowledge by scanning a QR code wherever and whenever you need it. Your access can be recorded and stored in a SQL database that is running in the cloud and accessible anywhere around the world.

You can record a video and send it to a support person to visually explain exactly what your problem is and get an immediate, specific response. You can also be certified in the use of an instrument or tool by recording a video and sending it to the app.

Now imagine that the cost of all this functionality is measured in pennies per use, not thousands of dollars.

Long time friend, civil engineer and entrepreneur Dave Arnold, CEO of Retrieve Technologies has been developing the foundation technology for the past 8 years and it is now ready for prime time.

Let me know what you think.

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Lidar News Today – January 26, 2016

Blog Forum AdThis week’s Lidar News Today contains a recap of the top news stories from last week plus two important articles. The first by Mike Tully looks at drone accuracy and the second by Ken Smerz highlights the value of 3D documentation in construction.

There is also an announcement of a “3D Day in the Field” being sponsored by LFM Software and Point 3D on February 6 in Houston, TX. I think this approach to learning by doing is a missed opportunity for many companies. Service companies can team with a product vendor to offer a real educational experience.

It’s a cliché, but “seeing is believing.”

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stencilI received additional info from AutonomouStuff on the real time SLAM sensor that I blogged about last week.

The STENCIL can be purchased with a license for either localization or a license for mapping applications. Additionally, the STENCIL can be used without the need for a GPS, and has an integrated six degree-of-freedom IMU that improves the performance of the device.    When coupled with the Velodyne VLP-16 it creates a lightweight, low-cost aerial mapping system.  For more information on the Velodyne products we provide, please visit:

The price for the STENCIL is $10,000 USD and includes a trial license for the localization and mapping software.  Further licenses are available on either a yearly basis or for the life of a device.

This is a very cool video.

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Low Cost “Sweep” Laser Scanner

scannableThanks to Giuseppe Di Franco for the tip on this. It’s a low cost version of a laser scanner from Scannable. How low cost? How about $249? It has a range of up to 40 m, collects 500 points per second and has a scanning accuracy of 2% of the measured distance.

They are positioning the Sweep as being for small vehicle guidance – a sense and avoid autopilot, as well as for mapping and home security. It’s supposed to be ready in February.

This could be very interesting.

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