After attending a recent POB webinar on the basics of laser scanning (several of which are freely available to view on the RPLS website), I needed to ask a few questions about some concepts I want to try with scanning technology and was guided to Greg Lawes
, of Meridian Associates, who was a presenter at this year’s SPAR conference. I posed some thoughts to him and these are the answers Mr. Lawes had to my questions:
Is it possible to put a scanner on an ATV for work in woodlands and construction sites?
Mobile Mapping Systems have been proven over the past several years, delivering increasingly better and faster performance with improved accuracy. The reduced size and streamlined configuration of some systems coming to market is allowing the application of mobile mapping on smaller vehicle to become a reality. Once the domain of large transportation project, mobile mapping can now be considered for large infrastructure projects.
Is anyone considering combining autonomous vehicular navigation and scanner point clouds to capture data in the same manner as a UAV?
Fully autonomous vehicles have been the dream of many both here in the United States of America, and other countries internationally. Militaries in particular, see the benefits of autonomous vehicular navigation to reduce casualties by keeping people out of harms way. …much of the technology required to autonomously drive a vehicle is used today in mobile mapping systems for much different reasons. The race for the best, fastest and most accurate continues while benefiting both.
A big complaint is that clients don't have the capacity to use 3D data yet; couldn't we rent them the equipment to do so?
Equipment is typically the least of the concern with computer hardware having come down dramatically in price. This particular issue was covered at the recent Spar conference in the “Introduction to 3D Imaging, Primer for Beginners”. Typically the problem is the lack of trained resources and integration with current work processes. Other issues affecting the adoption of 3D center around planning: not being ready when the need is greatest and not allowing time in the schedule for a new implementation. While the staff is learning, they can now view and utilize the data in software they are already familiar with since point cloud data usage is becoming integrated. [An example of a] free application [is] Adobe 3D PDF Viewer.
How do you plan for success? Increase awareness among the team, define your success metrics, improve the skill level of workers, Integrate with current applications, Invest in IT infrastructure, plan and prepare for change. These actions will ultimately reduce cost of use and reduced risk to the client.
If the surveyor and client are both using 3D data, couldn't we also use an augmented reality system to replace field markers and provide real-time visual information?
Just having both parties working in 3D is not enough; you must first make sure they are working in a common frame of reference. Too often we find the design team working in one coordinate system, while the site is on another system, and construction wanting to establish their own control. If you can get everyone on the same 3 Dimensional Page, then new technologies might be considered. However there is no substitute for a well-established physical reference.
Is your firm aggregating survey data into a GIS for others uses?
The results of our statics based scanning applications have long been aggregated into plant design and now BIM applications. With the cost of collection coming down coupled with improvements in software and increased level of sophistication of users, we are moving in the direction of more integration with GIS applications.
These responses are full of insight and knowledge that Mr. Lawes has graciously provided out of his personal experiences. I have already had many meaningful discussions with my peers at work and school from what he has said and hope that our conversation spurs on your own imagination into the possibilities that easily acquired 3D data has for us. Considering that scanners are a few bolts and welds away from going anywhere means it won’t be long before there is an explosion of available point clouds covering every environment man can, and a few that he can’t, go. This event should be a fun time for spatial professionals, if you’re ready for it.
What do you think about the possibilities of combining scanning with our everyday work? Where could you see this technology put to good use for the surveying profession where you work?