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Leica HDS worldwide user conference

Leica Geosystems 2010 HDS Worldwide User Conference – Day 1

The conference kicked off this morning with some great presentations including a live preview of Cyclone 7.2 and its new pcE high speed visualization engine.

Some of the more interesting presentations today also included:

– Explosion Dynamics Research/Forensic Investigations using HDS, presented bu Dr. John DeHaan, FireEx Forensics
– Ken Smerz, Kovach Construction/Precision 3D Scanning, gave an excellent presentation on the benefits of laser scanning for the precise fabrication of complex wall systems.
– Alan Barrow, ABA Surveying, showed how he is using 3 HDS6000’s, a LandINS IMU and Javad GNSS mounted on the back of a van for near survey-grade mobile scanning.
– Luncheon keynote updating us on the status of the Mt. Rushmore CyArk project was given by Liz Lee and Doug Pritchard. They showed some remarkable images of the project.
– Zebra Imaging is displaying their latest high-resolution, full-color holographic prints in their booth. They have some great examples of full-color point clouds and detailed Building Information Models.

The day ended with a great social evening of food and bocce at Campo di Bocce Ristorante & Bar.

We are looking forward to more great presentations over the next couple of days. Be sure to follow us at www.twitter.com/scanable for live updates throughout the event.

Google Maps Street View 2.0 [LiDAR]

Brian Ussery is reporting that Google is back in Atlanta, GA making Street View images for Google Maps but, this time they brought in the big guns. Beu Blog reported on April 28, 2010, “The cars here today are equipped with GPS, high resolution panoramic cameras and multiple SICK sensors. These sensors collect LiDAR data that can be used for 3D imaging and visualizations like that seen in Radiohead’s recent “House of Cards” music video. Google Earth and SketchUp, Google’s 3D virtual building maker for Maps also use this type of data.

Last week Google announced the release of a plugin which allows users access to Google Earth imagery via Maps. As a result it’s now possible to view 3d images in Google Maps. The problem here is fairly obvious, Google Earth’s aerial imagery is taken from above and as a result not from the same perspective as users interacting with the data. Not to worry though, the StreetView team has been working on these kinds of problems for some time. When it comes to Navigation, Maps or StreetView, earthbound LiDAR enhanced imagery processed via Sketchup seems like a perfect complement to Google’s existing view from above. Combining high resolution imagery taken from the user’s perspective with advanced 3D image technology, presents some new possibilities to say the least. Factor in new releases like business ads in Maps, now being available in 3D on your mobile device and it’s pretty clear how Sketchup will be monetized.”

It is expected that Google’s incorporation of LiDAR into their mapping efforts will lead to some significant changes to our industry. If you have not previously seen the “House of Cards” video, be sure to check out the interactive music video code to see how Google made the point cloud data readily available for manipulation in a standard web browser. Point clouds are finally becoming more natively accepted in most CAD platforms and with Google getting involved in the industry, who knows where we will be in the near future.

Exploring Point-Based Rendering in Pixar’s RenderMan [Point Clouds]

Creating animations of large point cloud datasets generated from terrestrial laser scanners and LiDAR has been an issue for a number of years. While it has been possible using tools such as Leica Geosystems Cyclone or Pointools, just to name a couple, it is still a very cumbersome task. It is exciting to see the CGI industry beginning to adopt the use of this data and developing applications that make it easier to visualize.

Over the last few years, a brand new technology has emerged for creating CGI effects that has already made a big impact on feature film production. It is called point-based rendering, and this powerful technique makes creating global illumination effects for feature film far more practical and efficient than before. In fact, this year the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences awarded the creators of this innovation, Per Christensen, Michael Bunnell and Christophe Hery, with a Scientific and Engineering Academy award.

In this great article written by Nils O Sandys at CGSociety, we will look into the development of this important new technology, how point-based rendering works, and what this all means to the future of feature film production as we know it. Read the full article here.

ClearEdge3D releases EdgeWise – Automatic Extraction of CAD Models from Point Clouds

UPDATE: CLEAREDGE IS NOW OFFERING A 30-DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE ON EDGWISE SOFTWARE.

clearedge-logoAfter three (3) years of development, ClearEdge3D is excited to announce today, June 5, 2009, the general release of EdgeWiseTM.

EdgeWise is the only software application capable of automatically extracting clean, truly editable CAD models from ground-based laser scan data.  Using patent-pending computer vision algorithms, EdgeWise quickly and accurately extracts clean, rectilinear polygons (not just a simple mesh!) from surfaces within the point cloud.  This new technology dramatically cuts the time required to create accurate, as-built CAD models.  Additionally, it can automatically extract complex topographical surfaces (hills and valleys), while ignoring above-ground objects like cars, buildings, and vegetation.

Over the past six (6) months, we have partnered with scanning experts to beta-test EdgeWise, and here is what one of the early beta testers, Scott Cedarleaf with Provide Solutions, had to say:

“ClearEdge3D’s software immediately interested me.  When I saw what ClearEdge3D was capable of doing in seconds, it was unbelievable.  For our clients—no matter what the industry—it will cut down modeling time significantly.”

Prominent laser-scanning expert Tom Greaves, CEO of SPAR Point, stated the following regarding the EdgeWise technology:

“New tools to automate the post-processing of point cloud data into 3D deliverables unlock the economic value of laser scanning for building, infrastructure and industrial plant applications.  Our industry depends on the entrepreneurial enthusiasm and technical innovation of companies like ClearEdge3D.”

If you haven’t recently visited us at www.clearedge3d.com, make sure to check out the new information that includes pricing and purchase details.  We also will be hosting a series of webinar demonstrations in the coming weeks.  The schedule and registration links will be available on our website.

With the dramatic time savings from using EdgeWise, we expect most companies to realize their return on investment within a few weeks of use.  We are looking forward to helping you streamline your business by automating your modeling process!