Engineers trial new surveying methods in Kentucky. Parts of the “Big Bat Cave” are precisely recorded with 3D laser scanners. An extremely demanding project: There is hardly any light underground and it is very confined in places.
The Big Bat Cave is a great attraction for cave explorers and nature-lovers. The history of the area comes to life here; rare crayfish, crickets and bats are at home there. For the “Kentucky Karst Conservancy” , conservation of the landscape and nature is a matter of top priority, and in the engineers of QK4, Louisville, they found highly capable supporters.
The experts are testing new methods of acquiring data when surveying – and one of them is recording using 3D laser scanners. The engineers swapped their traditional surveying tools for a FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner whilst systematically and digitally recording the “Big Bat Cave” system in three dimensions. An exciting and groundbreaking experiment, which engineer Ben Shinabery explains step by step.
The three dimensional measurement is carried out from various standpoints using precisely defined reference points. The laser scanner takes around 8 minutes for each setting, measuring almost 1 million points per second in a 360-degree radius. This provides the surveyors with point clouds, which are then processed on the computer. FARO SCENE software is ideal in this context for creating three-dimensional models. The surveying team worked through the cave metre by metre, including through some tight spots which were difficult to access.
In this cramped, dark environment the advantages of the FARO Focus3D X 130 laser scanner come into their own: small and light, quick to set up and dismantle, and easily transported in the cave. Non-contact scanning delivers true-to-scale and ultra-precise data. The initial results were impressive. Project manager Ben Shinabery: “Now almost anyone can use the 3D models for scientific analysis: students, scientists and consultants.”
Kentucky is a region well-known for its caves – including the Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest known cave system in the world. However, its little sister in Breckinridge Kentucky also has its charms, as shown by this project. Now it is to contribute to preserving and protecting it. A first impression of the 13.9-mile cave system recorded to date is provided by the fly-through, which carries you off into the widely ramified system of underground corridors.
FARO Technologies Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology, was elected “Milestone of the Industry” by Vogel Business Media in the category of measurement and testing technology.
Vogel Business Media (VBM), a worldwide major specialist media publisher that focusses on the markets Automation, Automobile, Electronics, Production, Mechanical Engineering, Design Engineering among others celebrates its 120th birthday. In order to share this success, VBM honors based on this long lasting experience within the industry markets important players of the industry for their achievements in innovation and technological development.
The award “Milestone of the Industry” for FARO is based on FARO’s innovation started in 1984 with the development of the first measurement arm used for orthopedic applications and in 1994 to be the first measurement company in the world that developed measurement arms which worked like a fixed co-ordinate measuring machine but would provide mobility, flexibility, wide range measurements with a high accuracy to the users. This innovation was considered a milestone of the industry for its revolutionary contribution to the industrial history. It changed and simplified the way that quality, surfaces and dimensions of products, etc. could be measured. This achievement was followed by a number of outstanding innovations that make FARO a trusted partner in the industry today.
FARO’s success is proven through numerous recognitions and awards. The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D FARO has already prevailed twice with regards to the Hardware Product of the year award at the Construction Computing award contest, 2012 and recently in November 2014. The Focus3D impressed due to its extremely powerful and accurate three-dimensional measurement method, which offers numerous advantages compared with conventional measurement systems.
Geospatial World, considered the world’s largest geospatial technical resource portal, confirmed this vote for the Focus3D in 2014 with the Technology Innovation Award acknowledging that it sets new standards with regards to performance and ease-of-use.
“FARO is very proud to be considered a milestone for the industrial development.”, said Jay Freeland, President and CEO of FARO Technologies Inc., “With our recently introduced new FARO® Scanner Freestyle3D, we will do our utmost to keep this innovation pace and leadership position.” The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device, enabling 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.
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.
Traditionally, measurements for planning and documentation are collected using a combination of tools such as measuring tapes, total stations, digital cameras, and laser range finders, however, the popularity of three-dimension planning and documentation tools through the use of 3D laser scanners is constantly increasing.
As a turnkey solution, the 3D laser scanner allows companies to gather measurement data while significantly reducing data collection errors and streamlining the overall workflow.
Capturing high resolution 3D images of complex environments, large-volume 3D laser scanners provide a fast, efficient way to capture millions of data points for use in comprehensive 3D models or detailed reconstructions. Applications vary from forensic and crime scene investigation to surveying, facility management and historic preservation. Laser scanners are an extremely versatile and accurate solution, which allows users to obtain data which would have previously been impossible.
Download the full Large Volume 3D Laser Scanning white paper for how laser scanning works, comparison to other methods, applications and industries, and much more!
The use of laser scanning in the accident reconstruction and law enforcement communities is constantly gaining more and more respect. With hardware and software having improved greatly over the past few years, capturing great detail in a quick and simple manner has been made extremely easy.
Here are 10, of many, reasons why utilizing laser scanners for forensic applications is the right choice.
1. Ease of use: The operation of a laser scanner has become much easier with the inclusion of a simpler interface, making operating the scanner less like a complicated piece of survey equipment.
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!
FARO are excited to reveal the brand new FARO Scene Webshare Cloud 1.6!
SCENE Webshare Cloud is a cloud-based hosting solution from FARO for easy and secure sharing of scan data worldwide via the internet.
With SCENE Webshare Cloud, FARO offers a comprehensive service to provide users with simple access to 3D documentation and neither technical training nor specialist skills in 3D laser scanning are necessary to work with the intuitive user interface!
Digital Data, such as 3D documentation, can be made available to many different project partners as the SCENE Webshare Cloud solution offers a highly secure hosting service with various packages at different prices.
But what’s new with SCENE Webshare Cloud 1.6?
New features include easier sharing of bookmarks with co-workers, the ability to upload your own custom company logo when sharing with project partners or customers, a new uploader role which has been split from the project manager role to enable some users to upload but not administrate, a panorama view compass, a uniform toolbar, optimisation for small screens e.g. mobiles or tablets, and much more!
Want to see these new features and more? Try our 30day FREE Trial now!
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.
FARO UK is happy to announce that we will be exhibiting at TCT Live, Birmingham from 30th September – 2nd October 2014!
TCT Live 2014 will give you the chance to see FARO’s cutting-edge metrology products, including the all-new FARO Edge ScanArm HD, the world’s most affordable, high performance contact /non-contact portable measurement system on the market and the revolutionary high speed FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D for detailed 3D modeling and image documentation.
TCT Live is an essential event for all involved in the concept, design, specification and manufacturing process , and offers a great opportunity to learn all about the latest and greatest in Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing and other cutting edge product development software and technology.
Date: 30th September – 2nd October 2014
Location: NEC Birmingham
Come along to see FARO’s brand new Laser Line Probe HD, and many more exciting products!
Visit the official exhibition website or email email@example.com for more information.
About 16,500,000 years ago giant oysters, sea-cows and sharks thrived along the coast of the Parathethys Sea. The deposits of which are currently exposed in the ‘Korneuburg Basin’ in Austria, not far from Vienna. And this worldwide and unique fossil site contains over 650 animal and plant species from a long gone ecosystem.