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Boeing Launches Compact 3-D Imaging Camera

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 8, 2010 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced it has begun offering a new, compact, energy-efficient camera that provides three-dimensional images for military and commercial applications.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems and wholly owned Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab have jointly developed the camera using their own research and development funding, and successfully tested it over the past two years by attaching it to mobile ground platforms and a Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter. Equipped with advanced sensors that were developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory and transferred to Boeing under a teaming arrangement, the cube-shaped camera is one-third the size and uses one-tenth the power of most comparable 3-D imaging cameras.

“Our three-dimensional camera fits a lot of capability into a small package,” said Nasser Karam, vice president of Advanced Technology Products at Spectrolab. “Its compact design and modest power needs will allow it to be deployed on a wide range of platforms, including unmanned aerial and ground vehicles that don’t have much room or power to spare.”

The camera, which Boeing can customize for each customer, has many potential uses, including mapping terrain, tracking targets and seeing through foliage. To create a 3-D image, the camera fires a short pulse of laser light, then measures the pulse’s flight time to determine how far away each part of the camera’s field of view is.

“The camera combines cutting-edge sensor technology with Boeing’s advanced pointing and tracking solutions and real-time processing to provide our customers with highly integrated 3-D imaging payloads for ground, airborne or space-based applications,” said Joseph Paranto, Growth lead for Directed Energy Systems in Albuquerque.

Boeing is currently integrating the camera into compact 3-D imaging payloads on unmanned aerial vehicles and will be testing that capability this spring. The team will also add 3-D video capability to the camera soon to complement its existing still-image capability.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

Source: http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=1107

Investigators get 3-D crime scanner

crime_scene_mgmt1_2405By Guillermo X. Garcia Express-News

Bexar County’s criminal investigators soon will have cutting-edge help as they comb through crime scenes: a 3-D, computerized laser scanning system.

County commissioners approved the $207,000 purchase Tuesday.

“This is state-of-the-art equipment,” said Jose Treviño, the Sheriff’s Office homicide supervisor. “This will provide much more accurate data, and much quicker, to investigators at the scene.”

The system, which will be operational by March, takes a 3-D electronic photograph that plots objects in a 360-degree scan.

The unit “will all but eliminate human error” when it comes to measuring and plotting crime scene evidence, Treviño said.

“Eliminating the human error means you’ll have much greater chance that evidence won’t be missed,” he added. “It also guarantees much more accuracy in documenting the evidence’s location.”

Law enforcement officials say they plan to use the tool to probe major incidents, such as bank robberies, homicides and large-scale traffic accidents.

The Leica Geosystems scanner the county is purchasing is similar to but newer than scanners used at Fort Hood to gather evidence in the shooting massacre that killed 13 people last month. A similar device also was used to reconstruct the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007.

Under a regional contract, surrounding counties and municipalities also will have access to the equipment, said Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz.

In other business, the commissioners were briefed on a project that will allow county residents to electronically request and track work orders for repairs to roads, sidewalks, bridges, signs and drainage structures.

Once operational, residents can access the Public Works Citizens Request Portal to create an electronic work request. The system also will provide status reports on all pending projects on a given street or in a neighborhood, said County Engineer Renee Green.

She said the public will be able to access the program starting Jan. 4.

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Quantapoint Announces Integration of 3D Laser Scan Data With Autodesk(R) Revit(R)

PITTSBURGH, PA — (Marketwire) — 10/29/09 — Quantapoint (http://www.quantapoint.com) — recent recipient of a General Services Administration (GSA) laser scanning IDIQ contract — announced the integration of Quantapoint 3D laser scan data with Autodesk® Revit using QuantaCAD(TM). Laser data may be accessed directly within Revit as photo-realistic Laser Images(TM) of individual 3D laser scans and high-definition Laser Models(TM) of integrated laser data, not fuzzy “point clouds” whose sparse measurements make them difficult to use and understand.

“One of the challenges of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been creating 3D BIM models that accurately represent existing buildings,” said Eric Hoffman, Founder of Quantapoint. “By integrating Laser Models and Laser Images with Revit, Quantapoint can more quickly create 3D BIM models and validate their accuracy. Additionally, new 3D BIM designs can be viewed and clashed with the laser data to ensure that they will fit into the existing facility, thus eliminating rework.”

QuantaCAD provides a number of useful capabilities to Revit users to enable them to create and validate 3D BIM models, visualize proposed modifications for design and constructability reviews, and identify and correct potential interferences. Some of the capabilities include:

  • Direct Integration: Integrate laser data with Revit directly, without sub-sampling or converting to “polygon meshes.”
  • Laser Models: Display 3D BIM models using solid, high-definition
  • Laser Models for direct remodeling or to create new designs.
  • Laser Image Projection: Project 3D BIM models into Laser Images of individual 3D laser scans for real-time validation or design reviews.
  • Measurement: Measure points, distances and mechanical or plumbing pipe information between the 3D BIM model, Laser Images and Laser Models.
  • Clashing: Clash laser data and 3D BIM models to verify remodeling accuracy or identify interferences with new designs.
  • Demolition: Group Laser Models that are parts of the facility being demolished and highlight or hide them for planning or design analysis.
  • Multi-user Database: Share measurements across the team via a multi- user database to ensure consistent information and easier interactions.
  • State Manager: Store and recall laser data (Laser Models, Laser
  • Images and views) to focus on areas or interest and more quickly resume work.

By using QuantaCAD to put reality in Revit, BIM remodeling time can be reduced while ensuring accuracy, design time can be decreased by accessing complete and clear Laser Models and Laser Images that represent existing conditions, and rework from design clashes can be eliminated by correcting clashes between the Laser Models and the new design.

If you are interested in finding out more about accessing laser data in Revit using QuantaCAD or would like a demonstration, visitwww.quantapoint.com/qp/contact or e-mail info@quantapoint.com.

About Quantapoint

Quantapoint uses patented laser scanning technology to create a high-resolution Digitized Facility(TM) of Laser Models(TM) (not “point clouds”) and Laser Images(TM) that can be accessed directlywithin various CAD packages or integrated with facility and asset information. By putting critical facility as-built information at our client’s fingertips, Quantapoint has helped them reduce costs, optimize schedules, increase quality and improve safety. For more information on our technology and services, please visit www.quantapoint.com, e-mail info@quantapoint.com or call +1-412-653-0100.

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For additional information, please contact:

James McGill
VP of Marketing
Quantapoint, Inc.
Telephone: 412-653-0100, x-200
E-mail: jmcgill@quantapoint.com

UPDATE: GSA Nationwide Laser Scanning Services Contract Awards

GSAlogo

The General Services Administration (GSA), Public Buildings Services (PBS), has officially awarded six individual $30 million Nationwide Laser Scanning IDIQ Contracts to the following firms (source: https://www.fbo.gov/spg/GSA/PBS/PHA/GS-00P-09-CYD-0137/listing.html):

Some firms were awarded contracts in their specific region(s) and others were awarded a contract covering all of the GSA regions.

Congratulations to all! These firms include some of the most talented individuals in 3D laser scanning. It will be interesting to see how much work actually comes out of this contract and how it will impact the laser scanning industry. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates on this monumental contract award.

Augmenting Aerial Earth Maps with Dynamic Information

The rapid speed at which technology is advancing seems to amaze me every single day and today is no exception. Below is a video demonstrating ongoing research being done out of the Georgia Institute of Technology funded in part by a Google Research Award. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post. Below is some information from the research site.

Kihwan Kim, Sangmin Oh, Jeonggyu Lee and Irfan Essa,
College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing
GVU Center, Georgia Institute of Technology

* Paper to appear in ISMAR (IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality) 2009, Orlando Florida USA

** This work was in part funded by a Google Research Award (http://research.google.com/university/relations/research_awards.html).

Abstract

We introduce methods for augmenting aerial visualizations of Earth (from tools such as Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth) with dynamic information obtained from videos. Our goal is to make Augmented Earth Maps that visualize the live broadcast of dynamic sceneries within a city. We propose different approaches to analyze videos of pedestrians and cars, under differing conditions and then augment Aerial Earth Maps (AEMs) with live and dynamic information. We also analyze natural phenomenon (clouds) and project information from these to the AEMs to add the visual reality.

System Overview

Videos

(1) AVI/Divx 6.8, 80MB: Download

(2) Youtube (5:21) :

District Attorney lauds use of Leica Geosystems 3D laser scan data as demonstrative forensic evidence in homicide trial

(Norcross, Ga., 03 September 2009)  District Attorney Joe Mulholland of the South Georgia Judicial Circuit added yet another legal case reference to the growing number of U.S. court cases in which Leica Geosystems 3D laser scan data has been admitted into evidence when he successfully proffered and tendered to the jury a visually compelling Leica TruView.

During the murder trial of Antonio Jerome Greenlee in Decatur County Superior Court, witness and crime scene investigator, Andy Forte of the Thomas County Sheriff’s Department, used Leica TruView to virtually place the jury at the crime scene and to show them how the homicide could have occurred.  The case stems from the homicide of 21-year-old Ebony Clarke of Bainbridge, GA, who was shot and killed on August 12th, 2008, during a street altercation between two men.

Leica TruView is a free, web-enabled panoramic point cloud viewer that allows users to view, pan, zoom, measure and markup the incredibly rich point cloud captured by the Leica ScanStation 3D laser scanner.  The Leica ScanStation allows investigators to first photograph and then make millions of measurements of a crime scene in just a few minutes thus “freezing the scene in time” forever.  A Leica TruView data set can then be generated in minutes after scanning for briefings or analysis or as in this case as a jury exhibit.

“The jury really, really liked it and we had jurors comment afterwards about how effective it was” said District Attorney Mulholland.  “We not only used the TruView to support Andy’s testimony, but the judge then allowed Andy to show it again during my direct examination of other witnesses as I asked them questions about where they were standing or where the shooter was.  TruView is basically a high-tech picture.  It is not testimony.  It is offered as an exhibit and demonstrative evidence.  This seemed to play well with the judge.  The Defense did not object and I think that they thought the same thing.”

Mulholland went on to say that after the trial the judge called him to the bench and commented on how effective the use of the Leica TruView was and encouraged him to use it again.  “We certainly plan on doing so.  The scanning software was absolutely fantastic” said the D.A. The judge also contacted Thomas County Sheriff R. Carlton Powell to thank him for his agency’s assistance with the case and to compliment him on the professional nature of the exhibits generated by his investigators.   Sheriff Powell was instrumental in bringing ScanStation technology to Georgia law enforcement and has made it available to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other agencies as a courtesy.

“The Leica ScanStation has been the choice of police and sheriff’s departments, state patrols, crime laboratories, prosecutor’s offices, coroner and medical examiners and tribal justice agencies” said Tony Grissim the Public Safety and Forensic Account Manager for Leica Geosystems.   “The high volume of traffic we are seeing on our web site at www.leica-geosystems.us/forensic is an indicator to us that word is really getting around within the law enforcement community.”
Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right

With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information.

Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3’500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

For further information please contact:

Leica Geosystems Inc.
Andre Ribeiro
Director of Marketing
Atlanta, GA 30092
Phone:   +1 (770) 326-9557
Fax:         +1 (770) 447-0710
Andre.ribeiro@leicaus.com
www.leica-geosystems.us/forensic

Leica Announces New ScanStation C10 Laser Scanner

Leica ScanStation C10

The All-in-One Laser Scanner for Any Application

Today’s most popular class of laser scanner – ScanStation™ – is now in a compact, all-in-one ScanStation C10 platform. It includes scanner, tilt sensor, battery, controller, data storage, auto-adjusting video camera and laser plummet. ScanStation C10 also features major productivity advances, including a new Smart X-Mirror™ that lets users conduct full-dome scans in literally just minutes using a spinning mirror.

With outstanding performance for site, exterior, and interior applications, ScanStation C10 makes High-Definition Surveying™ (HDS™) profitable for even more as-built, topographic and monitoring surveys. The ScanStation C10 platform represents the most capabilities and best value packed into a single laser scanner instrument. Users can take advantage of surveyor-friendly, onboard total station-like control or use an external laptop for even more powerful, onsite viewing and data processing.

ScanStation C10 combines all-in-one portability with the ability of users to traverse, resection or use scan targets for maximum flexibility in dealing with site logistics. Full 360º x 270º field-of-view, high accuracy, long range (300m @90% reflectivity), and high scan speed (50k pts/sec) add to ScanStation C10’s position as the industry’s most versatile scanner.

Major Productivity Advances
ScanStation is faster than its predecessor ScanSation 2 in many ways. It does full dome scans up to 10X faster – now, less than 2 minutes for a typical room. It also conducts general 360º and focused areas scans faster, can be setup & moved faster, lets users locate targets, register & geo-reference faster, and lets users check scan results faster.

Valuable Cost Savings
ScanStation is easy to learn, with a total station-like interface and intuitive, onboard graphic color touch screen display. It is also incrementally upgradeable over time, uses standard total station batteries, and features fewer accessories – all of this contributes to a reduced cost of ownership.

All-in-One Construction

Familiar, total station-like interface
Leica ScanStation C10 supports standard field workflows with a rich, familiar total station interface. Easy to learn touch screen operation.
Integrated real-time streaming video with zoom
For fast, accurate selection of scene and targets to be scanned. The auto-adjusting, internal, high-resolution camera image can also be used for texture mapping of point clouds.
Smart X-Mirror™ design
The mirror automatically spins for fast 360º and full dome scans and oscillates for efficient, targeted scans. The same Smart X-Mirror automatically aligns the internal camera image for fast, accurate texture mapping of point clouds.
Compatibility with standard surveying equipment
Attach handles with Leica GPS SmartAntenna or prism holder, or use without handle for unobstructed overhead scans. A built-in laser plummet and tribrach mount provide added compatibility with standard field procedures and accessories.

UPDATE: GSA Nationwide Laser Scanning Services Awards

See UPDATE: GSA Nationwide BIM/Laser Scanning Services Contract Awards

Beginning this week, the General Services Administration (GSA) began interviewing the 21 firms (not verified) shortlisted for the Nationwide Laser Scanning Services solicitation. Although this solicitation was advertised as a “nationwide” services contract, information announced in the interviews clarified that firms would be selected for up to three regions. This opens the door to the possibility of a greater number of awards and smaller contracts.

The GSA is looking at an aggressive schedule for the awards which will be announced the first or second week of September with hopes of having contracts in place before the end of their fiscal year – September 31st.

Good luck to all of the Shortlisted firms. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.

REVIEW:: ClearEdge3D EdgeWise™ – High Definition CAD Models Automatically From Point Clouds

EdgeWiseCompany: ClearEdge3D
Software:
EdgeWise™
Website: www.clearedge3d.com

Quick Pitch: Automatically extract vector planar surfaces from point cloud data.

Overview:
Having used just about every piece of software on the market related to processing and extracting vector information from point cloud data, I am always looking for the next best thing that will make my life and my team’s life easier. We have seen the hardware side of laser scanning come a long way in a very short period of time; however, the software side has not improved at the same blistering pace.

When the availability of ClearEdge3D’s EdgeWise™ software was announced here back in June and webinars were hosted to demonstrate the abilities of the software, I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of it to test it out for myself. While a little reluctant to offer demo licenses in the beginning, ClearEdge3D quickly began to realize that skeptics like myself were not willing to spend $5,000.00 on a piece of software that we have not had a chance to try out for ourselves, especially in this economy. They quickly began to recognize the needs of the market and responded accordingly by providing time-based pre-release beta trials to highly interested parties.

Installation:
The pre-release software I received (v. 1.0.2b) was easy to install, although there was an issue with the hardware lock driver on my Vista 64-bit laptop. This was quickly resolved by downloading the correct driver from the SafeNet website (Note: the updated drivers will be included on future distributions).

First Impression:
Right out of the box (figuratively speaking, as the software was downloaded from their website) I was very impressed with the overall look and feel of the software. ClearEdge3D was obviously interested in making their software easy to use and graphically pleasing-to-the-eye because they certainly did accomplish that. The UI is based on the latest Microsoft Office-type menu structure which made it very easy to jump right in.

EdgeWise-CaptureEase of Use:
ClearEdge3D insisted that I attend a 1-hour web-based training session and, while not necessarily needed due to the exceptional design and layout of the software itself, it did prove to be very beneficial and probably saved me the headache of learning by trial and error. With exception to a few terminology questions, I found the software’s left-to-right workflow very easy to use. Every step of the software’s conversion process was very well thought out and the routines made sense, technically speaking.

Technical Aspects:
While the software was primarily designed for the Architectural/BIM workflow, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the benefits of automatic conversion vs. the time needed to export the point cloud data to a format EdgeWise™ would accept (non-gridded PTX was the format of choice). Having been in the terrestrial laser scanning business over nine years, I know that point cloud data can be very cumbersome to deal with, especially when having to export to different formats. However, I was pleasantly surprised with EdgeWise’s ability to quickly import the various PTX files that I wanted to test.

NOTE: For those Cyclone users out there, EdgeWise™  is an automated “region grow patch, extend patch to all” batch routine. It really does a great job of quickly identifying planar surfaces and extending the edges to meet adjacent planes. The data import and processing time was a lot faster than I expected, but I did drastically reduce the number of points (to about 1 million).

Workflow:

  1. Export point cloud data (individual scans) to format accepted by EdgeWise™ (see FAQ on company’s website for more information on formats)
  2. Import individual scans into EdgeWise™
  3. Follow a few simple steps to identify the location of the scanner
  4. Extract ground surface (TIN)
  5. Let the software work its magic – it really is as simple as that!


Summary:
If you have a significant amount of basic models that need to be created from point cloud data, EdgeWise™ would likely be a good investment. Keep an eye on this product, because they are definitely on to something and, with a little direction from qualified users, they are on track to change our typical workflow.

Leica Geosystems Announces the Release of Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D

Leica Geosystems Announces the Release of Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D

(Heerbrugg, 21 July 2009) Leica Geosystems announces the immediate availability of Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D. This powerful and easy-to-learn point cloud solution is designed for Intergraph SmartPlant 3D users who want to take full advantage of accurate, laser scan as-built data directly in SmartPlant 3D.

Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D is the latest addition to the Leica CloudWorx suite of products that enable professionals to use rich, as-built point cloud data directly in their native desktop design and visualization platform. SmartPlant 3D is Intergraph’s next generation plant design platform.

Key features and capabilities of Leica CloudWorx™ 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D
– Measure – using SmartPlant 3D’s own measuring tools
– Automated clash checking – using SmartPlant 3D’s built-in clash management and reporting tools
– Pipe centerline routing tools and exact tie-point location tools – for finding face of flange at pipe center; supports creation of intelligent as-built models directly in SmartPlant 3D, using catalog components and objects
– Leica Geosystems’ unique Key Plan features – for visual fast navigation within point cloud project data
– Leica Geosystems’ unique TruSpace viewer – delivers improved comprehension of point cloud data and ease of driving exact viewpoints in the CAD system
– Easy point cloud management – by Scan, “Limit Box”, “Cutplane slices and sections”, and “Hide Region”
– Supports a variety of laser scanners – including native data formats from Leica Geosystems scanners, the industry’s most popular scanners
– CloudWorx toolbars – access CloudWorx operations easily, conveniently, and fast;
visualize a new design concept directly in context with reality

High Accuracy Plus High Performance
Leica CloudWorx for SmartPlant 3D is based on Leica Geosystems’ long proven database-centric Cyclone™ point cloud foundation, which allows users to simultaneously benefit from state-of-the-art spatial accuracy and high performance point cloud management.

Powerful Point Cloud Management & Measurement in SmartPlant 3D
Leica CloudWorx for SmartPlant 3D provides several ways to quickly, efficiently, and effectively manage vast amounts of point cloud data. User named and defined “Cutplane Slices and Half-Space Sections” and/or “Limit Boxes” provide a quick and easy way to navigate point cloud data. These selections can be recalled as needed on demand. The Key Plan and TruSpace viewpoint management tools provide unsurpassed ease-of-use and improved visual comprehension. Measurements are taken using familiar SmartPlant 3D measuring tools.

Automated Point Cloud Clash Detection and Reporting Using SmartPlant 3D
Clash detecting against point clouds with Leica CloudWorx is performed using SmartPlant 3D’s own automated clashing and reporting tools. Users can automatically detect clashes between modeled objects and point clouds, based on a user’s own defined tolerance settings. All interfering points within a user-defined region are visually highlighted and itemized.

Supports Multiple Scanner Formats
Leica CloudWorx for SmartPlant 3D lets Intergraph’s users take advantage of spatial scan data from any laser scanner via industry-standard ASCII-based data formats. In addition, Leica CloudWorx for SmartPlant 3D directly accepts, without any data format conversion, compact native data formats from the industry’s most popular scanners. These include all models of Leica Geosystems High-Definition Surveying™ (HDS™) time-of-flight and phase-based laser scanners, and selected scanners from other vendors. This capability to accept native formats from the industry’s most popular scanners provides users with even higher overall system efficiencies and simpler workflows.

Pricing & Availability
Leica CloudWorx 1.0 for SmartPlant 3D is immediately available from Leica Geosystems. Pricing information is available through appropriate Leica Geosystems representatives and dealers worldwide.

Leica Geosystems – when it has to be right
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information.

Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3’500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

For further information please contact:

Leica Geosystems AG
Bill Wallace
Sr. Product Manager, Software

Tel (direct) 1-925-790-2356
Tel (central) 1-925-790-2300
Fax 1-925-790-2309
E-mail: bill.wallace@leica-geosystems.com

www.leica-geosystems.com/hds