Jul
20
2015

Scientists Build High Precision 3D Model of Gomantong Caves

Located in Sabah, East Malaysia, Gomantong Caves is a 65-million-year-old limestone cave system that is famous for its edible-nest swiftlet and bat populations, as well as an ecosystem of critters and creatures that thrive in dark and moist conditions. Despite its harsh environment, Gomantong still sees its fair share of visitors, whether they be bird’s nests collectors or eco-tourists.

In July 2014, a group of seven international academics embarked on an expedition to the far North East of Borneo to study the renowned Gomantong Caves. Funded by the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions, the project’s goal was to obtain highprecision, three-dimensional (3D) laser scans of the complex cave systems, and to integrate the scan data with the digital elevation model of Gomantong Hill’s surface.

Involving specialists of various fields from six countries, the study is driven by an interest to understand the interaction between animals and landform changes, and is a continuation of earlier expeditions to Gomantong Caves and Niah Caves in Sarawak. FARO – the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement technology – partnered the team.

Gomantong caves

Obtaining a 3D Model

Under the guidance of Professor Donald MacFrlane from the Keck Science Department, The Claremont Colleges (California, USA), the interdisciplinary research team included Mr. Warren Roberts from the Honhold Library, The Claremont Colleges, Professor Joyce Lundberg from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa (Canada), Professor Manfred F. Buchroithner and Mr. Benjamin Schröter from the Institute for Cartography, Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), Mr. Guy van Rentergem from Deinze (Belgium) and Keith Christensen from Falls Church (Virginia, USA).

Prof. Buchroithner commented, “This expedition is an essential data collection trip for us to build a very detailed 3D model that will enable further scientific research. The 3D ‘cave map’ will then form the basis of various geologic and biologic tasks that each team member will undertake.”

For the cave biologist, it would be important to identify the exact distribution of bats and swiftlets; for the geologist, however, the vertical profiles that indicate cave genesis or the horizontal profiles that give elevation contour lines would be vital information. In that regard, it is absolutely critical for the team to ensure flawless execution in the early stages of data collection.

Gotamon caves

Prior Knowledge & Rich Experience

As several members possessed rich experience in terrestrial laser scanning, particularly in caves, the team had a good idea of what was required, and of what to expect. In particular, given that scanning would be performed in a remote location that was dark, dirty, humid, and distant, the device had to be able to overcome all those difficulties.

Having had prior experience with the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, Prof. Buchroithner was fully aware of its capabilities. He shared, “Clearly, we needed a device that was rugged, lightweight, and capable of capturing accurate data even with low ambient lighting. My prior encounter with the Focus3D gave me full confidence that the new Focus3D X 330 would deliver the results we needed. In fact, it surpassed our expectations in several ways!”

Over 17 days of fieldwork, the team worked tirelessly for at least eight hours a day, taking a total of 270 detailed, over-lapping scans in the cave system. Back in the office, these scans were then processed using the FARO SCENE software, which eventually resulted in the detailed 3D cave model that the team desired.

The research team unanimously felt that the Focus3D X 330 provided highly accurate scans in a consistent manner. Measurement times were also significantly reduced as the device could collect large amounts of data in just a few minutes. In addition, the power efficiency and portability of the Focus3D X 330 – both in weight and form factor – made it even more attractive for the cave-scanning project. Not only was the device easy to bring around, it did not require additional computers or heavy battery units for a day out in the field.

On several occasions, the team members had to perform scans in extreme ‘exposed locations’, where there was no way to deploy the device on a tripod. The Focus3D X 330 was put to the test, as it collected data while being held in oblique or even horizontal positions. In some instances, researchers even risked their lives to perform scans by hanging from vertical rock-faces of cave shafts, just to collect sufficient point cloud data for a complete model. These ‘stunts’ were made possible only because the Focus3D X 330could scan even with significant device inclination, unlike other older devices that required a level base.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all, the latest version of the FARO SCENE enabled the team to process the captured data more efficiently. The software’s ability to support targetless scan registration meant that artificial markers were no longer required for scans to be positioned in post-processing. In actual fact, the FARO SCENE stitched data from separate scans accurately and quickly, even under challenging conditions.

“The automated merging function in the FARO SCENE facilitates the processing of scans tremendously,” said Prof. Buchroithner. “The fact that the software can deal with an irregular environment like the Gomantong Caves is a testament of its strength.”

Indeed, the FARO SCENE software was celebrated for its user-friendliness by this research team. It allowed them to generate reports easily and to utilize CAD data in later stages. Photo-realistic images could also be added as an overlay to provide simulation, providing flexibility in data manipulation.

At the end of the trip, the interdisciplinary research team managed to complete the geometric model they aimed for. Furthermore, the resulting 3D ‘cave map’ is now the most accurate worldwide, and the one with the highest data volume. Prof. Buchroithner concluded, “We appreciate the technical support that we have received from FARO in the past few years. Without it, these demanding projects would not have been possible. I hope to ‘conquer’ more caves in other parts of the world with FARO in future.”

 

Jul
14
2015

FARO @ GEOBIM 2015

FARO is a silver sponsor at the upcoming 2nd GEOBIM Middle East Conference, 16-17 August 2015 to be held at the Hotel Al Bustan Rotana Dubai, UAE.  Join us to discover the FARO´s strong existense in the field of BIM Technologies with its High End 3D Documentation solutions during the GeoBIM 2015.

The Technical Slot of “3D Documentation in the BIM workflow: Efficiency Increase, Cost Saving, Risk Reduction” to be presented by FARO´s Senior Product Manager 3D Documentation Oliver Bürkler, will focus on implementing FARO´s award winning 3D Documentation solutions in documenting large volume spaces or structures in 3D, surveying and construction, as well as for developing and sustainability of large Scale Infrastructural Projects and the implementation of FARO 3D BIM processes into them.

With more than 30 years of pursuing its vision:  “To be the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging and realization technology”, we are developing values and adding them to computer-aided measurement and imaging devices and softwares to deliver the superior solutions.

Those who employ FARO 3D Solutions, are enabled to easily and accurately connect the physical world to the virtual world.

Please click here for Plenary Plan and further information of the event!

geobim dubai.jpg

 

Jun
17
2015

FARO 3D Conference Montage Video

The 5th edition of the annual 3D Documentation Conference 2015, took place at Motorworld in Stuttgart-Böblingen, Germany, yet again attracted more than 200 participants from all over the world to discuss the latest trends, innovations and applications in 3D Laserscanning.

During which a short video montage of scans was created using the FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Scanner comprised by our very own 3D Doc. Application Engineer Si Horton.

To find out more about or to stay informed regarding next year’s event sign up to our FARO Newsletter!

May
18
2015

FARO Reality Training Results – ARAS 360

Check out the new video from one of our 3D Documentation Engineers Si Horton!

The above video covers areas such as:

  • Steering & Suspension
  • Crash scene Analysis
  • Bullet Trajectories
  • Damage Analysis and much more….

Want to find out more about FARO‘s recent acquisition of ARAS 360 then click here.

Apr
20
2015

Kubit Webinars: Introduction of PointSense for Revit

FARO Technologies presents a faster and more intuitive point cloud to Revit model workflow. Taking as-built to BIM just got easier. Finally, more efficient laser scan workflows directly inside of Revit for family wall extraction, wall angle adjustment and correction, continuous wall mending, real 3D point cloud snapping, ortho image creation and more.

Webinars: Introduction of PointSense for Revit

This 60min webinar introduces you the new FARO 3D Software, PointSense for Revit.

PointSense for Revit accelerates and simplifies the analysis and design of point cloud data directly in Autodesk Revit. It contributes to the successful integration of as-built buildings in existing or new BIM projects.

During the Webinar the following topics will be covered:

  • precise creation of walls
  • automatic wall allignment
  • working direcly in the point cloud using 3D point snap
  • precise gripping of points using the planar scan view
  • comfortable work with scan data wihin the Revit family editor
  • creation of ortho images

German (19th of May, 11:00 – 12:00 MESZ) register!
English (20th of May, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT)- addressing customers in Americas – register!
English (Tue, May 26, 2015 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM SGT)- addressing customers in ASIA/Pacific – register!

For more information click here!

 

Apr
13
2015

FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner scans San Mamés Stadium

The smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market – Focus3D X Series are ideal tools for indoor and outdoor applications. The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D offer everything you might expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity.

Below is a perfect example of the Focus’s range, even in direct sunlight as well as it’s easy positioning with the integrated GPS receiver, as it scans the San Mamés Stadium, home to  Athletic Bilbao.

As-built surveys using 3D laser scanning technology, such as the FARO Laser Scanner, provide users with detailed point clouds which enable 3D modelling for diverse tasks including building reconstruction, plant layout and enhanced data presentation with augmented reality.

With fast turnaround times on scans of buildings and entire environments, FARO’s 3D laser scanner can deliver fully surfaced CAD models for a variety of industries. Architectural design, civil engineering and construction, facility management, and cultural heritage have all benefited from this 3D FARO solution.

In order to find more video like this then visit our FARO YouTube Channel to see what FARO can do for you!

Mar
04
2015

FARO® Expands Presence in Architecture, Engineering and Construction with Acquisition of kubit

Located in Dresden, Germany, kubit has been developing field-proven software products to enable and simplify the use of real world objects in CAD applications since 1999. Initially launched to link total stations directly to AutoCAD, today kubit is the industry leader in providing tools to integrate 3D laser scan data with CAD environments such as Autodesk Revit and AutoCAD.  kubit’s software is hardware independent, giving customers the flexibility to utilize any hardware offering, thus ensuring maximum productivity.

“The acquisition of kubit is an exciting step in FARO’s strategy to develop integrated, disruptive 3D documentation product offerings for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction market,” stated Jay Freeland, FARO’s President and CEO.  “By adding kubit’s products to our portfolio, customers now have significantly enhanced software options to serve a vast array of point cloud modeling, analysis needs, and measurement capabilities with very high connectivity to the Autodesk suite of products.”

For more information about FARO’s 3D scanning solutions visit our website or to see the full press release of the aquisition click here!

Kubit

Jan
28
2015

FARO Laser scanner at the service of historic Italian religious monuments!

The Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is therefore a building of superb beauty dating back almost one thousand years, with an absolutely unique feature: it is “the other original”, an almost exact copy of the church at Montecassino which, as is well known, was destroyed by bombing during World War II and subsequently rebuilt. The two buildings differ only in the number of naves: Montecassino has five, while Sessa Aurunca has three. The Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is one of the infinite “pearls” of Italian artistic heritage. Indeed, it stands out for its beauty and historical significance: despite the changes made over the centuries (Baroque and eighteenth-century additions), the cathedral still bears direct witness to the typical religious architecture of the period, combining structural rigour, Christian symbolism and a number of refined Byzantine-style elements (such as the splendid mosaic floor).

2° PRESENTAZIONE SESSA AURUNCA

Despite its obvious significance, the Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is not well-known among the general public and is overlooked by “traditional” tourist flows. For this reason, the diocese and the municipality of Sessa Aurunca in the Campania region of Italy decided to launch the “Sessa Aurunca 3D Project”, a communications project designed to promote the Cathedral and provide the associated services and products.

The “Sessa Aurunca 3D Project” has several goals and is broken down into seven specific points that will explore new frontiers within the world of communications: the publication of academic and scientific reports and articles; the organisation of conventions, seminars and events; the production of stereoscopic 3D animations and videos, with the creation of a You- Tube channel and dedicated videos; the creation of a “360-degree Virtual Tour” with a database and “multidata” to “explore” the Cathedral using computers and mobile devices; the creation of thematic apps and a website; and the production of a “docu-film” about the project and the technologies used. Regarding this last aspect, Danilo Prosperi observed: “Part of the success of this initiative can be attributed to the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner, an extremely precise device that we used to scan the Cathedral’s architecture, which provided us with a point cloud or, more precisely, digital data that we were able to use in our various activities.” The data acquisition phase involved 38 scans made inside and outside the church, including the crypt, and took just over half a day. “The quality of the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner enabled us to acquire extremely high-resolution and high-precision images with very low margins of error, which was fundamental for the scanning of extremely beautiful details, such as the mosaic floor, the ambo, the spiral Paschal candelabrum and the crypt on the lower level.”

2° PRESENTAZIONE SESSA AURUNCA

The data gathered was then processed in SCENE, the FARO software for the management of scanned data, designed specifically for the Focus3D. This software was used to create and edit videos and images for the 3D Virtual Tours of the Cathedral. “SCENE,” Danilo Prosperi specified, “allows us to easily process the scanned data and quickly generate particularly complex high-resolution equirectangular panoramic images”. Danilo Prosperi stressed: “We believe that the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner is the best technology on the market, not only due to its extreme precision, but also because it is so flexible, fast and easy to use. In fact, it is a compact instrument that is very lightweight and easy to move from one scanning position to another.” He concluded: “The collaboration between FARO and the Master’s in Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy at the European University of Rome has only just begun. Given the quality of the results, we plan to use the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner in the future for other projects aimed at promoting highly important monumental sites of great beauty.”

Jan
12
2015

FARO helps Tri-tech Engineering to ‘bridge the gap’ on Laser Scanning

It is no secret that where large-scale major investment is concerned in the current economic climate, infrastructure is a serious front-runner. As one component of a multi-pronged assault on rectifying the UK’s extensive debt crisis, Cameron’s government has pledged billions to the preservation and vast improvement of the country’s arterial infrastructure systems in the hope of stimulating a kick-start for the country’s long-term economic growth. With high-profile projects such as HS2 and Crossrail at the vanguard of the £36billion major infrastructure investment plan, the subject of national infrastructure has become one of 2014’s hot topics. Opti-cal caught up with Ted Harland of Tri-tech Site Engineering and Land Surveys in a bid to get the inside scoop on one of this year’s largest projects; the high profile £300million upgrade of the A1 between Barton and Leeming, that upon completion will see journey times in the area cut by as much as twenty percent.

Tri-tech themselves are a Yorkshire-based surveying and site engineering company, who since 2005 have gained a solid reputation in supporting and facilitating project success for both public and private sector clients

THE LOWDOWN

“The project is essentially a £300m upgrade of the existing A1 dual carriageway to 3 Lane Motorway”, explains Harland, MD of Tri-tech, “upon completion, the project will also provide a number of local access roads to serve the local community, and significantly improve safety in the area [which at present lacks the local access roads necessary to accommodate the area’s numerous agricultural vehicles.]”

Falling beneath the broad umbrella of major infrastructure projects for 2014/15, the A upgrade sets the tone for contemporary project process in its use of 3D Laser Scanning Technology, as well as the firm insight into futureproofing the venture’s work through BIM (Building Information Modelling) workflows. “There has been a big push nationwide to start to deliver projects through BIM”, says Ted; “This in turn with the recent development of Scanners, PC Software, and PC Hardware has meant that now more than ever 3D laser Scanning has become a viable option for data collection for this kind of project.” “We have used Opti-cal for number of years now for the supply and service of all our equipment …Their support and service is second to none”

Tri-tech Engineering

“We were asked by the Morgan-Sindall Carillion Joint Venture (MSCJV) project team to survey a number of existing bridges for the structural design team to process”, he explains, “some of the existing bridges are to be kept, as well as a number modified to suit a new 3 lane Motorway. After having various discussions with the design team about their specific requirements, and whether they could handle such large amounts of scan data, Tri-tech choose the FARO Focus3D X330 model for the job largely because it is the ability to scan at a far.

” Since its arrival on the market last year, the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner from global manufacturing powerhouse FARO has evolved in tandem with the changing requirements of the survey teams using it. In November last year, the original S120 model was replaced by the first of the X series units – the X330 – which boasted considerable range whilst maintaining the compact 5kg housing that has gained this particular brand of scanner well deserved industry-wide recognition. “In the past we have used the Focus3D S120 to scan a number of buildings for a client”, he says, “The results were excellent, however on this project we knew we required the additional range of the X330 to confidently scan the structures from both sides of the carriageway and get good results. Because we only have access to the side of the motorway sometimes the distances needed to be scanned would have been right at the limit of the S120, which is why we went for X330. In terms of the hire itself, we have used Opti-cal for number of years now and so it was natural progression for them to supply the scanner and all accessories. Their support and service is second to none.”

Speaking about the data captured at the site, Peter Robinson of AECOM’s specialist design team said, “The use of the X330 FARO scanner by Ted Harland of Tri-tech has provided the A1 Dishforth to Barton structures design team with invaluable information. The [sheer] level of detail obtained from the surveys has left a number of the design team speechless, and has allowed [the highly] accurate modelling of existing structures.” He continues; “thanks to the coordinated point cloud obtained from the surveys conducted, we discovered that the original surveys carried out [at the site] were in fact inaccurate, which could easily have led to costly issues on site.”

A1 Bridge Scan

Here, Robinson highlights the very issue that awards Laser scanning its rightful place at the heart of much of the industry’s recent lean towards Level 2 maturity BIM workflows; that the data you get out of a model will only ever be as good as the data you put in. And where Tri-tech is concerned, no expense has been spared in ensuring total accuracy for MSCJV and the holistic success of their project. “There was quite a lot of prep work prior to the scanner arriving on site,” Ted continues, “control had to be established at each structure using GPS and then tightened up using a total station; all stations were then digitally levelled to tie them into the site network. The beauty about scanning and scan data is that you capture everything in one visit – which at the end of the day saves the project both time and money.”

“We managed to scan all the structures in 4 days with a total of over 40 scans taken”, says Harland. “The processing was then done the following week using the Faro Scene, and the data exported out of FARO Scene Software in a format ready to be imported into Autodesk Revit/Autocad. We know this data is of an exceptionally high quality, and can now be used to design and model all new additions or changes to the motorway bridges – it also provides a real snap shot of what is there now as a record forever, in true 3D.”

With work commencing in March this year, the venture is by no means a small undertaking; “The project is due to be completed in mid-2017,” says Ted, “and I am confident that should there be any further survey work of bridges or structures, laser scanning will certainly be a first choice – not only by the designers but by the site team too.”

 

Nov
26
2014

Q&A with Senior Technical Product Manager Oliver Bürkler – FARO SCENE Software

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.

faro_scene_01

 

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.

 



FARO UK Blog

Stay up to date with the latest news and trends in industrial metrology and 3D documentation.

Subscribe to our Blog

FARO Local

Follow us:

Archives

Tweets