With Laser Scanning continuing to gain popularity, more workflows than ever now rely on the unparalleled precision and speed offered by the latest in scanning technology. We here at FARO continue to bring new instruments to the table, and legislative changes revolutionising the ways in which project data is handled, getting it right in terms of data capture, processing and modelling is more critical than ever. One company who pride themselves on being well ahead of the competition is Worcester-based Bury Associates: Opti-cal caught up with MD Steve to talk all things buildings, BIM and Bury.
In a rapidly changing project landscape, survey businesses like Bury’s occupy an increasingly pastoral role when it comes to guiding clients through the project lifecycle; and they’re not alone – with specifications now littered with demands for BIM, tighter phase collaboration and the need to navigate complex software suites, knowledge in the supply chain is king. They often say that a workman is only as good as his tools, but even with the FARO Focus 3D X330, what truly sets Bury Associates above the competition is the sheer breadth of knowledge, and committed attention to detail that has characterised the business right from its humble beginnings. Commencing back in May this year, their latest project has focused around the documentation and refurbishment of several of the core buildings of the one of the UK’s major academic institutions. With plans to overhaul the structure of the existing buildings, the University commissioned Steve and his colleagues to comprehensively scan, model and deliver a functional Revit BIM from which plans to renovate the central portion of the building could progress.
Having used cutting-edge data modelling techniques since the early 2000s, Bury Associateshave spent the past fourteen years building a reputation as one of the UK’s most experienced topographic and measured building surveyors around. “The project was essentially to carry out scans, and produce a BIM of several buildings and key external areas”, explains Steve; “Scanning started on site in May 2014 and the last of the models was issued to the client in October.”
“The FARO Focus3D X330 has already been used on several other prestigious projects, providing the point cloud for a large Rights of Light model in central London – again, it proved to be invaluable.”
“The end goal is to completely transform a whole major block of buildings so as to make more use of the space available”, he continues, “at present, the main courtyard surrounded by large U-shaped building isn’t really being used at all, so this projects aims to put the space to better use by installing extra glass blocks and lecture theatres. Much of the scanning has been carried out using our new Faro Focus3DX330,” says Steve; “There weren’t many vantage points from which the buildings’ high roofs could be seen – and those that were visible were a good distance away – so a high powered scanner with sufficient range was necessary to pick up the detail needed to model everything as accurately as possible. We were really pleased with the quality of the point cloud we got from the X330; it was clean with little or no noise, and with full coverage even in areas covered in dark slate tiles.” Even with the significantly reduced site time enjoyed by those opting to use high definition 3D data capture methods, the project still demanded a huge amount of raw data from which to accurately model the buildings in question: “In total we’ve performed well over 1000 scans, with more than 200 of those being taken in the voids above suspended ceilings,” says Steve.
“Although using 3D Laser Scanning for as-built projects such as this one has been documented to cause some problems in terms of attributing good, solid data to the resulting 3D model, I think this is where our wealth of experience comes into its own, because intuitively we’ve already got a fairly good idea of the kinds of features we’re likely to come across in a building of this kind. Obviously, it’s not a complete solution because every building is different, so where we could we were scanning up above suspended ceilings using elevated tripods, and putting the scanner up through ceiling tiles!
As a company at the cutting edge of their art, Bury have always been eager to embrace the very latest in 3D data capture methods and their project solutions often stretch far beyond the initial remit of full three dimensional documentation. Now offering some of the most comprehensive project solutions around, Bury are no strangers to Laser Scanning; “The X330 has already been used on several of our other prestigious projects,” says Steve, “and once again it proved to be invaluable. The data collected using the X330 has been used to create a 3D Revit Building Information Model, which as well as basic structural information also includes detailed plant and MEP features.
As with many projects of this kind,it’s the work that takes place in the back office that often accounts for the majority of the time – and Bury’s latest endeavor is no exception, with months set aside for meticulous data processing. “The project has been quite a long one, and if we stay on track we’re due to finish around the end of this month,” he says, “Overall it’s progressed really well and we’ve had some excellent feedback from the design team; the challenge has been to ensure sustained collaboration between our team – using Revit to create our BIM – and the architects for the project who have been working in ArchiCAD, in order to maintain the smooth transfer of intelligent 3D information from one software suite to another.”
“I think it’s critical with all of the projects coming our way nowadays to get the modelling side of things right because so often we’re modelling everything – MEP and so on –not just the architecture,” Steve continues. Contrary to the swathes of survey companies seeking to harness the momentum of the industry ‘BIM buzz’ by simply outsourcing their modeling work,Bury are one of the few businesses who have taken the time to really perfect their modelling art in-house. With major legislative changes on the horizon for businesses at all levels of the supply chain, Bury Associates are way ahead of the competition; now proudly boasting BIM deliverables amongst their regular survey services. “We have been working with and modelling in Revit since 2007 – in truth way before many of our competitors – so in terms of the skill set we have at our disposal, we’re pretty confident in the quality of modelling services we can deliver from the survey side of things.”
“We always have, and will continue to be as hands-on as we possibly can with our projects”, says Steve: “The argument for outsourcing increasingly critical modeling work is often based on the assumption of cost-saving, but at the end of the day, saving twenty percent on modeling costs pales quickly when you consider the sheer amount of errors that so often occur as a result of businesses trying to cut corners. Maintaining the integrity and accuracy of intelligent data is crucial to the success of any project hoping to experience any kind of real success.”
FARO Technologies, Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology, announces the release of the new FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Laser Scanner, an easy, intuitive device for use in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), Law Enforcement, and other industries.
The FARO Freestyle3D is equipped with a Microsoft Surface™ tablet and offers unprecedented real-time visualization by allowing the user to view point cloud data as it is captured. The Freestyle3D scans to a distance of up to three 3 meters and captures up to 88K points per second with accuracy better than 1.5mm. The patent-pending, self-compensating optical system also allows users to start scanning immediately with no warm up time required.
“The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and represents another step on our journey to democratize 3D scanning. Following the successful adoption of our FARO Focus 3D Scanners for long-range scanning, we’ve developed a scanner that provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device.”
The portability of Freestyle3D enables users to maneuver and scan in tight and hard-to-reach areas such as car interiors, under tables and behind objects making it ideal for crime scene data collection or architectural preservation and restoration activities. Memory-scan technology enables Freestyle3D users to pause scanning at any time and then resume data collection where they left off without the use of artificial targets.
A scanner is not much use on its own – with SCENE software from FARO, all the scan data acquired on the set can be processed and – with the hosting service – securely shared worldwide.
FARO is a manufacturer of portable 3D measurement technology, and has developed the SCENE software package specifically for the FARO Focus3D laser scanner. However the SCENE software is not restricted to the laser scanners from FARO, but can also be combined with other makes of laser scanner.
Using this software, the user can process the photo-realistic scan data from the laser scanner with the aid of automatic scan registration and positioning methods, and then carry out measurements and 3D visualisations and export point clouds. New tools take care of automatic scan positioning without having to rely on artificial targets such as checkerboard markers or spheres. The range of functions of the software can be extended at will with plug-ins from the FARO 3D App Center, for example for creating a video, for volume calculations and much more. At the same time, FARO has published the new version 1.6 of the scan data hosting service, SCENE WebShare Cloud: This enables scan projects to be viewed, shared and published online. And all with the highest security standard.
SCENE is compatible with Windows from version 7, 64-bit, in addition to which at least a 512 MB graphics card with OpenGL-2.0-interface is required for optimum performance. For stereoscopic display, FARO recommends an Nvidia Quadro card. SCENE uses the manufacturer-independent, binary data exchange format ASTM E57, and the tool also supports all popular formats.
How many laser scanners should be used for a high-quality scan model of which magnitude?
Oliver Bürkler: The crucial factor is always the degree of detail required for a scan. The more accurate a scan is to be, and the higher the resolution it is to have, the longer the scanner takes to record the data. We are talking about a maximum of 15 minutes for a very detailed scan outdoors, within a surrounding radius of 330 metres. The larger and more complex the object to be scanned – for example a large, angular building – the more scans will have to be carried out in order to record all the surfaces. It can thus be an advantage in terms of time to employ several devices in parallel, but it is not absolutely necessary. As far as SCENE is concerned, the software can in principle handle projects of unlimited size, and map them with no restrictions.
How does the scanner store the data?
Oliver Bürkler: The scanner stores the scan data automatically on a normal SD card. If a computer is equipped with SCENE software, data transfer is started as soon as the SD card is inserted, following a brief request for confirmation.
There are two methods available for automatic scan positioning without markers: “Top View”-based registration and “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration. Which of these is suitable for which situation?
Oliver Bürkler: “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration uses all the scan data for registration. In order to be able to operate reliably, this type of registration needs in principle some initial information about the rough position and alignment of the scan. When outdoors, SCENE uses the GPS information saved by the scanner for each scan. Without this information, for example when indoors, the user has to align the scans roughly by hand in advance. In contrast to “Top-View”-based registration, this method requires a little more time but is potentially more accurate.
Prior information about location and orientation are not necessary for “Top-View”-based registration. This method is particularly suitable when there are enough vertical structures – such as walls, for example – available in the scan data.
However, in the case of targetless methods the user has to ensure greater overlapping between the individual scanning locations. So you need more scan positions but you save yourself the effort associated with transporting, fitting and managing the targets.
In which application situations is the use of targets as essential as ever?
Oliver Bürkler: SCENE still supports spheres and checkerboards as targets. The user will normally still want to use targets if he/she wants to georeference the scans, for example, with tachymeter data. The type of most suitable targets depends on the individual case.
In which formats can data such as image files, CAD drawings or cards be integrated into the scan data?
Oliver Bürkler: The user can import files in .tiff, Geotiff, .jpg or .png formats into SCENE. The software then displays the file on a horizontal plane in 3D space. In the case of a Geotiff file, the position and scaling are extracted automatically from the metadata. With the other file formats, the user has to enter the position and the scale of the image, for example by means of a dialog box.
Does stereo 3D viewing work in real time in every situation?
Oliver Bürkler: The output of a stereoscopic 3D view can be easily defined in the 3D settings of SCENE. A stereoscopic view is always possible without any time delay then.
Is SCENE WebShare Cloud permanently integrated into the software or an optional feature?
Oliver Bürkler: It is an optional service from FARO, but from the technology perspective it is fully integrated in SCENE. Advantages of the Cloud service include the easy viewing of scan data in standard web browsers, as well as the provision of data in any size. Users do not need any special software for it. The scans are also displayed as panoramic images, so no knowledge of 3D programs is required. That makes it particularly easy in the case of complex projects to provide access to the data to everyone involved – all without any time delay. Even changes to the project become visible in real time. There is the choice of making the data public or of restricting access by means of username and password.
Is web-based collaboration on the model also possible?
Oliver Bürkler: Yes, that is also possible. Although we recommend that a web conference system such as GotoMeeting or WebEx be used for that purpose when several people are working at the same time. It makes cooperation more effective.
You also offer a free version of SCENE, called Scenect. For which target group is it intended?
Oliver Bürkler: Our intention with Scenect is to appeal to people who are not typical professional 3D scanner users, and to offer them an easy way into 3D scanning. All that is needed are inexpensive sensors such as the Asus Xtion or Microsoft Kinect. With Scenect, however, only one sensor can be used at a time.
Are there any imminent plans for a Mac or Linux version von SCENE?
Oliver Bürkler: There will be no versions of the software for other operating systems in the immediate future. On the other hand, SCENE WebShare Cloud is entirely independent of the operating system.
SI2G S.r.l. (which stands for Sistemi Informativi Intelligenti p er la Geografia, or “Intelligent information systems for geography”) is a spin-off of Marche Polytechnic University established in 2008 by researchers with many years’ experience in the various disciplines involved in the study of terrain and the environment based on computer science and photogrammetry. The company deals with the acquisition, analysis, processing, archiving and distribution of “environmental data” in digital format, using an integrated systematic multidisciplinary approach. It provides services such as remote scanning of terrain, photogrammetry, topography, cartography and ICT.
Eva Savina Malinverni, Associate Professor of Topography at Marche Polytechnic University, explains how SI2G recently came to invest in a Laser Scanner Focus3D, the innovative laser-scanning tool from FARO that provides extremely precise yet simple 3D scanning
The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D is actually a very compact device, weighing barely 5 kg and measuring just 24 x 20 x 10 cm. A technician can carry it around wherever and whenever it is needed. What’s more, the WLAN technology makes it possible to start, stop, view or even download scans remotely.
The imperial city of Huế, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, is probably the largest and most famous architectural site in all Vietnam. It was from here that the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945. Its design was based on the imperial palace of Beijing and comprises walls, moats, fortified gates, bridges and decorations that make it a truly atmospheric setting of great artistic and historic value. “Scanning it would have been very complex and time-consuming had we used the normal photogrammetry techniques.” The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, on the other hand, enabled the SI2G team to complete the work in just a few hours and to obtain truly astounding results with just 17 scans.
Thanks to the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, a highly flexible tool that is very quick and easy to use, the technicians at SI2G S.r.l. were able to scan the magnificent East Gate of the imperial Vietnamese city of Huế, capturing every detail of its form and geometry with the utmost precision, despite the difficult weather and operating conditions.
If you want to find out more about the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D or any of our other innovative products, then visit our website.
FARO is set to participate at the GeoData Event in Glasgow where you will be able to see first-hand how its portable CMMs and LaserScanners for 3D documentation solutions can benefit your operation. These exhibition style events include live demos of the products and provide an opportunity to talk to members of the team about your specific requirements. Technology from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement, imaging and comparison of parts and compound structures within production and quality assurance processes. The devices are used for inspecting components and assemblies, production planning, large part inspection or structures in 3D, and more…. To find out how to register for the GeoData Event click here and head up to Glasgow on the 4th of November where we will be featuring our FARO LaserScanner Focus3D X Series, or visit our website and book your demo today.
What is 3D Documentation workflow? How does it work? And most important: What are the benefits for you?
Watch the video to find the answers!
With 2,800 stores, the DM pharmacy is one of Europe’s largest supermarket retail brands and is continuing to grow by around 10% annually.
In order to allow efficient building management, DM has measured the premises of its 1,350 German stores. To ensure the data was captured efficiently, quickly and accurately, the company opted for a solution using 3D laser scanners.
Complete documentation of the store areas and ancillary rooms enable optimum management of the areas, while shelf planning and modification measures can be arranged efficiently.
With the three-dimensional measurement, the joiners obtained the very latest store data, allowing for new photographic counters to be planned precisely in advance and their individual elements to be fitted accurately.
Surely restoring a historical Church can’t be an easy task? Well, a recent project has used FARO 3D Laser Scanning Technology to simplify and speed up this process.
The 3D imaging system has been used to create point cloud models of the church in the Italian capital, revolutionising the restoration process. This has meant that the team of architects has been saved from carrying out a task which would have needed a great deal of both time and patience.