The Laser Scanning Forum

I am not sure how many readers are familiar with the Laser Scanning Forum – LSF. I suspect most of you, but if you’re not, then this is going to be a real find. It had been quite a while since I have visited the site. I don’t think it has changed all that much in terms of look and feel over the years. Why change something when it is so well done to begin with?

I think I could probably check off all the tags that I have stored after 3,000+ blog posts – that’s how comprehensive the forum categories are. You will be hard pressed to not find the specific category you are looking for. From associations, to scanners, to reality capture, to SLAM, UAV, software, projects – you name it, there is someone else in the world that has a similar interest as you.

Based in the UK the site is truly international in reach. There are six moderators who keep the site maintained and under control. It’s a must visit.

From their About page:

“Our mission is to become the world’s leading knowledge hub for 3D scanning, point-cloud processing and their application to education, science, research, industry, commerce and the public service.

As an organisation, it’s our mission to inform and educate our members and the public. We support networking between the university, business and government sectors.”

I think it can be said that they have achieved those goals. Kudos to all involved and thank you for the ongoing investment.

For more info click here.

Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, cultural heritage, Education, Geomatics, Hardware, Historic Preservation, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR, remote sensing, Sensors, SLAM, Software, Surveying, Technology, The Industry, training, UAS | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Digital Twin

Waldeck Consulting

One term that I heard a couple of times last week at SPAR 3D/AEC Next which I was not familiar with was “digital twin”. It wasn’t too hard to get the idea from the context of the usage, but I thought I would get something more official from, in this case, Wikipedia. Speaking of that, whatever happened to “wiki’s”? They just never caught on, I guess.

From Wikipedia, “…a digital twin refers to a digital replica of physical assets, processes and systems that can be used for various purposes.” It gets more interesting, “The digital twin provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an Internet of Things (IoT) device operates and lives throughout its lifecycle.

The idea is to use all the new hot topics – AI, machine learning and software analytics to create “living” digital simulation models. Of course some of this is not new at all. Many buildings have been instrumented and remotely controlled for many years. I would say the big difference here is the use of the Internet to make things wireless and the ability of the digital twin to learn from the usage patterns, like the Next thermostat.

This is why systems engineering is the hottest engineering degree right now.

In the case of construction it might make more sense to use the term physical twin, because the digital design model actually comes first followed by the as-constructed physical object and then the as-built digital model, but it’s too late for that. Of course 3D laser scanning is likely the best approach for capturing the as-builts.

Since I am a civil engineer I am biased toward construction and infrastructure as the use cases, but the term digital twin can be used in manufacturing and mechanical engineering as well.

There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done on the standards front in order to make all of the systems compatible, in addition to issues like how accurate the information is supposed to be in a digital twin.

There is going to be no shortage of work for civil and systems engineers over the next 20 years.


Posted in 3D Modeling, artificial intelligence, Augmented reality, Construction, Data, Internet of Things, Sensors, smart cities, Software, visualizationj | Tagged | Leave a comment

TRB AFB 80 Summer Meeting

The Transportation Research Board’s AFB 80 Geospatial Data Acquisition Technologies in Design and Construction Standing Committee is holding its summer meeting July 22 – 25, 2018 in Sacramento, CA. The event will be held at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. Advance registration ends on June 22, 2018. The conference is open to the public.

This is an opportunity to connect with DOT and FHWA personnel that are involved with the investigation and adoption of a number of innovative geospatial technologies including UAV/UAS, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, mobile lidar, geodetic control and more. The private sector will also be represented.

This year’s agenda  will include reports from each DOT on current activities, and sessions on:

  • Augmented Reality in Construction
  • Geospatial Data Standards
  • Implementation of the 2022 Horizontal and Vertical Datums
  • Lidar on Drones
  • Mobile Scanning
  • GPR
  • Autonomous Vehicles

For more information about the conference click here. To find out more about AFB 80 click here.

Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, artificial intelligence, Augmented reality, Autonomous vehicles, Cloud, Conferences, Construction, Data, geodetic, Geomatics, GNSS, Government, Hardware, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR, Orgs, Research, satellites, Sensors, Software, Standards, Surveying, Technology, The Industry, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BIM for Infrastructure Webinar Next Week

The Highway Engineering Exchange Program (HEEP) would like to announce an exciting new twist to IHEEP that we have organized as part of the 2018 event. In coordination with our partners on this effort, we extend an invitation to the BIM (Building Information Modeling) for Infrastructure series of virtual meetings.

There will be two virtual meetings in 2018, leading up to a panel discussion at the 60th annual IHEEP conference on September 24, 2018. The second one will be Wednesday June 20, 2018 from 1:00 to 2:00 CDT. You can register here.

BIM for Infrastructure is a topic on everyone’s mind these days. The understanding of the key elements of BIM and its benefits seems to vary from organization to organization.

Like the US, UK public and private transportation entities are being asked to do more with less under strict requirements and significant restrictions. BIM for infrastructure has played an important role, and many lessons have come from experiences in the both the US and the UK. To date in the US, the application of BIM varies from state to state, but the desire to explore it and use it seems to be accelerating. Valuable lessons are available from both the US and UK’s experience with BIM for infrastructure.

These moderated panel discussions are geared around an exchange of ideas, where transportation practitioners can learn and understand key elements of BIM, implementation concepts and further benefits. These meetings will consist of 6 panel members and a moderator with perspectives from the Government, Consulting and Contractor point of view, with participation from both US and UK organizations. These virtual meetings are open to anyone with an interest in BIM for Infrastructure.

The recording for the first webinar is here.

Take this survey at any time to help drive the conversation and content of these discussions.

The 60th annual IHEEP conference takes place in Lincoln, Nebraska from September 23-27, 2018. Time to register.


Posted in 3D Modeling, BIM, Construction, Education, Government, Orgs, Standards | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two More Big Announcements from Hexagon

Leica Geosystems made two new major product announcements yesterday that deserve your attention. From the press releases.

The first is the launch of the Leica RTC360, a laser scanner equipped with edge computing technology to enable fast and highly accurate creation of 3D models in the field.

The RTC360 combines high-performance laser scanning, edge computing, and mobile app technologies to pre-register captured scans quickly and accurately. With the push of a button, two million points per second of High Dynamic Range (HDR) imagery can be captured to create a full-dome scan in under two minutes. Laser scanner movements between setup positions are automatically tracked by a Visual Inertial System (VIS) while scans are combined and pre-registered on a mobile device, where they can be viewed and augmented with information tags – saving precious time and speeding up decision-making right from the field.

Sounds amazing.



The second is the Leica BLK3D – a compact 3D handheld imager that improves productivity by enabling immediate and precise 3D measurements from any image it captures.

By combining measurement sensors, software, and on-device edge data processing capabilities, the BLK3D enables in-picture measurements with professional-grade accuracy. Every image captured by the BLK3D is a complete and precise 3D record. Its edge capabilities eliminate the need for network connections and/or cloud services, ensuring professionals can make faster decisions within their daily workflow – whether creating floor plans and estimating building installations or documenting construction progress and creating as-built facility documentation.

“The BLK3D is the latest addition to our award-winning BLK series,” said Ola Rollén, Hexagon President and CEO. “The ability to capture, visualise, and index precise 3D measurement information directly from a 2D image raises the bar, setting new expectations for professionals looking for faster, more accurate ways to get the measurements they need. Not only that, it’s so easy to operate virtually anyone can use it.”

With the expanded functionality of the desktop software, users can create new projects and CAD-ready 3D models from their measurable images. BLK3D connects seamlessly to a laptop or desktop computer – via Wi-Fi or USB cable. Data is automatically synced and measurable images can be accessed, processed, and organised from the convenience of the desktop application.

Can’t wait to see it in action.

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Xalt is the Big Leap for Hexagon

The much anticipated news coming out of Las Vegas last night at the HxGN Live event was presented by Ola Rollen at his keynote. It’s being called Xalt and its a bold move for a traditional sensor company that is certainly looking to the future by positioning itself as being a leader in leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT).

Xalt is about accelerating digital transformation and it includes every latest buzzword, in addition to IoT that you can think of – AI, machine learning, edge computing, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, the cloud plus a few new ones that Ola coined last night like smart construction, smart autonomous fleets and the one he says will have the greatest impact – smart factories. He claims Hexagon is already implementing Xalt in a number of factory settings.

It’s all part of what Ola labeled as ACE – the Autonomous Connected Ecosystems. If that sounds a little familiar as in AutonomouStuff, the firm Hexagon acquired last week, then you are on the same page as Ola. He said that’s exactly what he sees coming – lots of autonomous “stuff” and he wants Hexagon to be a leader in this transformation. As noted in the previous blog post that is a major shift from just a couple of years ago, particularly as it applies to driverless cars.

Xalt’s framework leverages disruptive technologies that address the critical IoT points of leverage: enterprise integration; cloud orchestration; data visualisation; built-in mobility; intelligent edge connectivity; and artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere. It is the cornerstone of Hexagon’s ACE strategy – delivering industry-specific solutions that integrate sensors, data, and software to create smart digital realities.

“Perhaps the single greatest need in business today is autonomous insight. This means much more than operational line of sight – it means being able to leverage vast amounts of data behind the scenes, where connected devices and machines interpret what’s happening and why, and then act accordingly autonomously,” said Ola Rollén, Hexagon President and CEO. “Customers need to operate based on the whole picture, not just the big picture – something not humanly possible without the aid of AI and visualisation technologies.”

It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the development of this new vision and strategy. It is certainly the direction that the world is moving and Hexagon has a lot of expertise in the sensor side of things. The challenge will be in transitioning the company from one that is built to sell sensors to one that is comfortable  with ACE.

The vision is there now it’s all in the doing, or as Ola challenged the audience with – To Take the Big Leap.


Posted in 3D Modeling, AI, airborne LiDAR, artifical perception, artificial intelligence, Autonomous vehicles, Business Development, Cloud, computer vision, Conferences, Data, Digital Transformation, Hardware, intelligent cities, Internet of Things, machine learning, Mapping, Robots, Sensors, smart cities, Technology, The Industry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Evaluation of 3D Laser Scanning Equipment

I have not had a chance to review this report on 3D Laser Scanning Equipment yet, but I wanted to get this out there as soon as possible as it will certainly be of interest to not only those in the transportation industry, but 3D laser scanning in general.

The Illinois Center for Transportation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has released a report that determines the tangible costs versus benefits and the manpower savings realized by using the 3-D laser scanning in place of or in conjunction with conventional surveying methods. This report reviews surface topography mapping of bridge decks, bridge beam deflection scans, and detailed surface mapping of various structures.

The report used the Trimble TX5 laser scanner for the study.

Two projects were used for comparing manpower requirements for conventional surveying methods with those for 3-D laser scanning. Other projects were included in this evaluation under the objective of expanded use of the laser scanning equipment and included surface topography mapping of bridge decks, bridge beam deflection scans, and detailed surface mapping of various structures.

For more information click here.

Posted in Geomatics, Government, Inspection, Mapping, Research, Sensors, Surveying | Tagged , | Leave a comment

ICEYE Gets $34 Million for SAR Microsatellites

From an article by Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz):

ICEYE is a high tech start-up based in Finland that just secured another $34 million in financing for what they promise will be the world’s largest Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) microsatellite constellation.

The company’s goal is to build a constellation that can be tasked to image anywhere in the world within an hour, according to CEO Rafael Modrzewski. Two years of funding toward nine satellites gets ICEYE halfway to its goal of 18, which the CEO said would be capable of imaging anywhere in the world in 3 hours. With the previous largest SAR constellation only totaling four satellites, ICEYE is on track to surpass that before 2020.

The cost to build and launch each ICEYE microsatellite is close to the recent amount of funding raised, Modrzewski said, meaning each comes with a price tag near $3 million. ICEYE has “identified over 50 improvements based on” the X1 mission, he added.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Business Development, Data, Environmental, Forestry, Mapping, remote sensing, Research, satellites | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

HxGN Live 2018 is Next Week

With SPAR 3D 2018 wrapped up full attention now turns to the Venetian in Las Vegas and HxGN Live 2018. Beginning on Tuesday June 12 with a wide variety of high level training classes, the official opening sessions will be at 5:30 followed by a kickoff reception. The conference then runs through Friday June 15. Thursday night features the big nightclub event.

There are going to be more than 400 customer-led case studies presented and there is over 120,000 sf of The Zone exhibits.

I know AutonomouStuff will be exhibiting. It will be interesting to see what is said about the recent acquisition.

For more info click here. 

That’s it for today. Playing catch up after being at SPAR all week.

Posted in 3D Modeling, airborne LiDAR, Autonomous vehicles, BIM, Business Development, Conferences, cultural heritage, Education, Forums, Hardware, intelligent cities, Internet of Things, Mapping, Mobile LiDAR, remote sensing, Sensors, SLAM, smart cities, Software, Surveying, Surveying Engineering, Technology, The Industry, training, UAS, UAVs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SPAR 3D 2018 Day 2

Day 2 at SPAR 2018 3D opened with a review of the history of AEC Systems and a keynote by a team representing Gensler, the designer of the new headquarters building for Nvidia. The presentation focused on the getting the “soul” of the building captured in the many design iterations. The goal was to create a place of collaboration and all of the modeling techniques were used from cardboard to virtual reality. Nvidia contributed massive computing resources to the design process which resulted in the most simulated building that Gensler had ever been involved with.

I spent the rest of the day on the exhibit floor for the most part. With the addition of AEC Next the exhibit area seemed huge compared to past years. The booths for each conference were mixed together which I think is a good idea. At times there was quite a bit of traffic and it will be interesting to hear if the two groups were talking to vendors outside of their conference.

There were no major product announcements at the show that I am aware of. I think all of the major scanner manufacturers  are trying to become more of a total solution provider. This is certainly true for FARO as they have added a number of software products for the construction market.

The interior data collection carts were roaming around, but the product that seems to be hot is the ZEB-REVO handheld scanner from GeoSLAM. In 18 months they have grown from a couple of people to supporting 75 distributors worldwide.

Assemble Systems offers BIM data management software mainly for general contractors. They want to be the one source of truth for all construction data. They are creating a much simpler user interface to working with BIM.

It is going to be interesting to see what the feedback is going to be on the co-location and what the plans are for more integration going forward.

Posted in 3D Modeling, Construction, Mapping, Sensors, SLAM, Software, UAS, virtual reality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment