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Laser Scanning: Simple and Complex Projects

Taking a scan is easy. Set up your scanner and push a button. Scanning a small area like a room is also easy; any scanner with a full dome field of view can do the job. But what if you need to deal with more challenging sites? Watch this video to learn how Leica Geosystems laser scanners and software let you do both simple and complex laser scanning projects better.


Alex:                   Hi, I'm Alex ...

Lori:                    ... and I'm Lori. In this Chapter 3, we'll look at how Leica Geosystems Laser Scanners and software let you do both simple and complex laser scanning projects better. Another reason why we're the industry leader.

Alex:                   Let's start with the simple stuff. Taking a scan is easy. Set up your scanner and push a button. Scanning a small area like a room is also easy; any scanner with a full dome field of view can do the job. Unlike certain other scanners however, Leica scanners can also do longer range jobs.

Lori:                    Right, and if there are some obstructions in the way, it's still simple. Just move the scanner to a couple of different vantage points and stitch the scans together before producing your deliverables.

Alex:                   If you need a quick deliverable that lets anyone view and measure from scans or mark them up, then simply publish panoramic Leica True Views with the push of a button and you're done. Leica True Views software is free and very simple to use.

Lori:                    It's like Google Street View only for sites and scenes that have been scanned.

Alex:                   Creating 2D drawings from a scan is easy too, just access the scan file, view the point cloud in your CAD software, look at section or elevation views, draft, and you're there. Point cloud plug-ins for CAD let you do these tasks even faster.

Lori:                    Right Alex, but if you need to deal with more challenging sites, Leica's versatile tools also allow you to do those projects efficiently and with confidence.

Alex:                   Right, for example, sites that are bigger or with more obstructions, more scanner setups and scans to register, more targets to place, longer distances, restrictions as to where you can place a scanner or place targets or you have to deal with weather or other unexpected things, or maybe you need to make more advanced deliverables, well you get the idea.

Lori:                    Yes Alex, not every system on the market can do all that but Leica has you covered.

Alex:                   To understand a scanners capabilities for more challenging sites you need to look closely at the actual 3D scan data. In particular, you need to look at the actual point cloud from a 3D view and zoom into details.

                             Here you're looking at a scan merged with a photo and you're looking from the viewpoint of the scanner. It may appear that the whole scene is captured out to a very long range, but look closer. When you remove the photo from the scanner view and turn the view to a 3D perspective, only then can you see what you really captured and how far away you've captured useful scan points. The horizontal and vertical surfaces zooming into specific areas tells you even more.

Lori:                    The good news is that our scanners let you scan at high density even at long range, beyond 200 meters or more, thereby capturing much more useful data for infrastructure and roadways, sites, piles and pits, buildings, factories and plants, crime and accident scenes, campuses or city blocks, or for large structures.

Alex:                   This powerful, high-density, long-range capability reduces your scanner set-ups, saves time and gives you a lot more logistical freedom on site. Without it, you'd have to try to move a shorter-range or lower-density scanner to more positions, hope those vantage points are accessible and that they are good spots to place and scan the targets, register more scans together and so forth.

Lori:                    Okay, I get it. Now can you tell us more about the accuracy and speed aspects?

Alex:                   Sure. Again, scanning small areas with high accuracy is easy. Distances are short, so horizontal and vertical angle measurement errors for each scan point are typically small. However, to achieve high accuracy at longer distances scanners need longer-range capability and survey grade angular accuracy like our scanners have.

Lori:                    What if you set up your scanner on loose soil or hot pavement and a tripod leg settles during a scan?

Alex:                   Again, Leica Scan Station Scanners have your back. Their survey grade tilt compensation automatically corrects coordinates with sub-millimeter accuracy.

Lori:                    What if you're on a tight schedule and have lots of scenes to scan? Maybe hundreds to scan? You'll need a really fast scanner right?

Alex:                   Well for some scanners, in order to achieve 6 millimeter or quarter inch accuracy for each scan point, you have to reduce the effective scan speed by a factor of 3 or 4, but not for our scanners. With Leica you get high accuracy even at high scan speeds.

Lori:                    What if you don't have the time or site access to place lots of scan targets and you have dozens or even hundreds of scans to register?

Alex:                   I'm going to start calling you the "what if" girl because you have a lot of "what if" questions.

Lori:                    I do, but that's the whole point. Leica has all the "what if's" covered.

Alex:                   Again, we've got your back. You can scan indoors or outdoors without targets and register them by using Cyclone Software's powerful cloud to cloud registration capabilities. You can also register on the fly as you can scan using traditional traverse methods. If you do need to scan targets, our scanners let you accurately capture them up to 200 meters away for even better registration results. Our software is the industry's best at registering lots of scans and giving you the most options for the all-important registration step.

Lori:                    What about situations like rain or snow?

Alex:                   Our high quality scanners have enclosed optics, so scan away; and they perform well at both high and low temperatures.

Lori:                    Just as you'd expect from Leica Geosystems.

                          Okay, now what if you need more than just simple deliverables and you need to create them efficiently? After all, projects can be gigabytes or larger.

Alex:                   Our software is specifically designed to handle even the largest projects efficiently. It starts with fast file access, fast loading, and fast format conversions, if you need them. Next you want to efficiently navigate and manipulate what you see on screen, often a large 3D point cloud to the view and appearance that's best for the task.

                             More good news: our software offers users the largest choice of efficient viewing and navigation modes, true color, intensity-mapped false color, aligned to the scanner view, silhouettes- especially good for building outlines and profiles, shaded mode for mesh rendering of point clouds on the fly, scan density controls, friendly panoramic viewing, ability to import design models, clipping, limit-boxes and limit-box management, slicing and slice management, meshing and mesh management, site maps with scanner locations, file navigation, special tools for easily navigating hundreds of scans.

Lori:                    And finally, whether you're doing civil survey, industrial plant, marine, buildings, forensics, heritage, or even entertainment projects, Leica software has the specific tools and the automation needed to efficiently create your deliverables. From the simplest like 2D plans and elevations, user-friendly panoramic images with geometric information instantly available from each pixel, point-to-point and point-to-surface measurements.

Alex:                   You can also create more advanced products and deliverables like detailed topographic maps, wire frame and surface models, fully intelligent plant models or building information models, BIM.

Lori:                    Whether you use our stand-alone software or point cloud plug-ins, Leica software ensures that you can do it all efficiently, that the modules all work together ...

Alex:                   ... and that you have the right quality control to ensure you're getting accurate results.

Lori:                    From simple projects to complex ones, we have you covered with the right tools and support that you need to be successful, all from a single vendor so you only need to call 1 number. To learn more, watch our other videos in this series and be sure to check out our website