FARO Announces Under $25k Scanner

Things are heating up in the 3D laser scanning community to the benefit of all. FARO has just announced the FARO Focus(M) 70 priced at under $25,000. It is targeted at the construction world and public safety forensics.

At 70 meters the accuracy is stated to be +/- 3 mm. The Focus(M) 70 is designed for both indoor and outdoor use with an Ingress Protection of 54 for use in high particulate and wet conditions. The scanner is available for purchase.

2017 should be very interesting as we see the democratization of laser scanning taking place around the world.

You can sign up for a demo here.

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ILMF 2017 Keynotes Announced

ILMF 2017 which takes place in Denver February 13 – 15 has announced an outstanding group of keynote speakers:

LARRY MAYER, Professor and Director, School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire

Keynote: Challenges of Mapping the Deep Ocean: If Only Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Worked in 10,000m of Water

TIMOTHY TRAINOR, Co-Chair, United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management; Chief of Geography Division, US Census Bureau
Keynote: Role of Technology and Geospatial Information Toward Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals

ROY E WRIGHT, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation, FEMA
Keynote: What FEMA Seeks from Geospatial Information: Risk Management, Risk Reduction

DR. ERIC E. POEHLER, Associate Professor of Classics and Co-Director, UMass Digital Humanities Initiative; University of Massachusetts Amherst
Keynote: Mapping Pompeii: New Discoveries with New Technologies

“We’re honored to have such a stellar lineup to kick off the ILMF conference,” said Lisa Murray, Event Director. “These keynotes demonstrate the incredible breadth of uses for LiDAR technology—from mapping the ocean floor to mapping the ancient city of Pompeii, to using LiDAR for global sustainable development and for risk management and reduction.”

Combine this with over 60 papers and ILMF 2017 is a must attend event if you are involved with 3D laser mapping.

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It’s All About 3D

Whether it is Augmented/Virtual Reality  or driverless vehicles the underlying technology is the ability to navigate a digital 3D world at high speed. Reports from last week’s Consumer Electronics Show have these technologies capturing the top spots in terms of interest and potential impact on the mass market.

On a related note the CEO of Waymo announced that they have reduced the price of a lidar sensor to $7,500 from $75,000. Waymo is the spin-off from Alphabet (Google) that is focused on driverless cars. I wonder how this  will be affected by the solid state lidar chip announcements that are being positioned at less than $50.

This is going to be an interesting rest of the decade.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Augmented reality, Autonomous vehicles, Consumer, virtual reality | Leave a comment

Promoting Engineering Careers with 3D Laser Scanning

Transport Scotland is funding the development of promotional engineering learning aids using the Forth Bridges as the subject to the tune of £425,000.The funding will be used to develop games, apps and interactive models all aimed at developing pupils’ STEM skills. That is an impressive investment in the future.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Forth Bridges represent Scotland’s industrial past, creative present and our dynamic and innovative future.

“They are the pinnacle of world-leading design and engineering and it’s right that we conserve and protect them and also seek to inspire and educate the young engineers of the future.

“If the bridges are a globally unique showcase of Scotland’s world-class engineering skills, this amazing 3D scanning project also showcases the world-leading design, research and innovation in our Higher Education institutions.”


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Self-driving Cars Face a Major Problem – Snow

Since 2009 Google has logged more than 2 million self-driving miles with their test vehicles. In fact, last week they spun this project out to a new business. Waymo is the new company, but it still faces the same major hurdle – inclement weather. Most of the test miles have been logged in locations where snow and cold were not a factor.

Last January, Ford successfully tested one of its self-driving cars in the snow for the first time.

“It’s one thing for a car to drive itself in perfect weather, it’s quite another to do so when the car’s sensors can’t see the road because it’s covered in snow,” Jim McBride, Ford technical leader for autonomous vehicles, said at the time.

The test occurred at one of their private facilities, not a public highway. It’s not just about the total number of miles it is now important to characterize the conditions under which the tests were conducted.

There is still a long way to go before we have a fully self-driving vehicle that can operate under all conditions.

Posted in Autonomous vehicles, Research | 1 Comment

Change Detection Without Registration

A group of researchers from China and the Netherlands have demonstrated the ability to use baselines instead of point cloud registration which they claim is more accurate.

Instead of registering the clouds to a common coordinate system the researchers recommend that baselines be established and used to detect differences between the point clouds.

From the abstract, “Baselines connect feature points within one scan. To analyze changes, baselines connecting corresponding points in two scans are compared. As feature points either targets or virtual points corresponding to some reconstructable feature in the scene are used. The new method is implemented on two scans sampling a masonry laboratory building before and after seismic testing, that resulted in damages in the order of several centimeters.”

This method was then compared to traditional change detection methods.


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USIBD LOA Certification Course Will Be Online in 2017

The USIBD’s Level of Accuracy Certification training course will be offered online in 2017. They are partnering with CD-BIM.com, who will be hosting this version of the training course covering Version 2.0 of the document.

The training will provide an overview of the document, and show how it will close the gap in your clients’ expectations by increasing communication, ensuring the right use of available or chosen technology and get the right results more easily, accurately and efficiently.

The dates for the training in 2017 are:

January 27th

February 14th

March 24th and

April 28th

The time of the workshops is noted on the registration page by time zone.

Registration to take the course is at: http://cd-bim.com/loa/

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Lidar Training

This website, hosted by the U.S. Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center is offering six online Lidar technology training tutorials. They have also identified a number of online resources.

It appears to be open to the public at no charge. Here are the topics:

•Lidar Introduction Tutorial
•Lidar Fusion Tutorial
•Forest Inventory Modeling
•Advanced Lidar Processing
•Introduction to LIDAR modeling with R
•Lidar Hydro Tutorial

Posted in airborne LiDAR, Education, Hydrographic LiDAR, Mapping, training | Tagged | Leave a comment

Smart Speed Bumps

Add this to the list of everyday consumer lidar applications that may be just around the corner. It’s a smart speed bump developed by Nokian, a Finnish tire manufacturer that includes a laser scanner which measures your tire tread depth and reports it to you via a text message.

Here’s how it works:

“Currently one of Nokian’s speed bump-style SnapSkan units has been fitted at an undercar car park in Helsinki. Others are set to follow in similarly high traffic areas. As drivers (not just Nokian customers) pass over them, the SnapSkan units automatically measure tire tread, while a camera will record the car license plate. If the driver then requests information via a free text message, Nokian sends out a report — plus a quote for new tires from a nearby dealership if required.”

I can see these being placed at toll booths to improve vehicle safety.

Can you think of a consumer app where laser scanning can be utilized? It is going to be as big as GPS.

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Cornerstone Report Released

The USIBD has just released their latest Cornerstone Report on the state of the Building Documentation industry.


This issue takes a look at some of the broader aspects of Building Documentation such as; what are the most common tools used to perform Building Documentation, at what stage of a project is Building Documentation likely to be performed and what are the most challenging aspects of performing Building Documentation?

The cost of Building Documentation always seems to be at the top of the list of reasons why projects go without proper building documentation. However, you may be surprised to find that the results of our survey point to a couple of other items beating it out.

A big thank you to all of those individuals who volunteered their time to make this happen.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Business Development, Certifications, Education, The Industry | Leave a comment