Web Exclusive: Conference Recap: On the Bleeding Edge

December 7, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The Leica Geosystems HDS Worldwide User Conference in October highlighted the successes and challenges of firms that are pushing the envelope with laser scanning technology. ...

Dr. Juergen Dold, president of Leica Geosystems’ Geospatial Solutions Division, presented the welcome address.


More than 250 Leica Geosystems HDS users from 20 countries gathered in San Ramon, Calif., Oct. 26-28, 2009 for the 2009 Leica HDS Worldwide User Conference. While attendance was down about 15 percent compared to the HDS portion of the 2008 conference, ideas were in abundant supply. In his welcome address, Dr. Juergen Dold, president of Leica Geosystems’ Geospatial Solutions Division, noted that in times of change, successful firms figure out how to do things better and develop new solutions that allow them to become more productive. They learn from the experience of others and identify the best practices that allow them to stay on the cutting edge.

The conference presentations captured a number of examples. Todd Beers from Nolte in Denver said that scanning projects have helped sustain the company during the recession. The company purchased its first scanner (a Leica ScanStation 2) in October 2008 and later purchased a second scanner. “Because we had the scanning technology, about five to six new clients have come onboard that the company wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise,” Beers said. The technology has also allowed the firm to expand services to existing clients as it has integrated scanning into its survey work. The additional business has allowed the firm to pay for one system already, and it expects the second system to pay for itself within a year.

Seth Goucher, chief field engineer for Cianbro Constructors in Brewer, Maine, said that the firm’s ScanStation 2, which it purchased in January 2008, has allowed the company to use much smaller crews and to help solve problems for its clients offsite. As a result, it has increased survey productivity by 70 percent, thereby substantially reducing labor costs. The technology also allows the company to collect data in the safest way possible and gives the team a visual analysis instead of just a quantitative analysis.

Doug Brown, managing director of Star Net Geomatics in Livingston, Scotland, discussed how his firm is using two laser scanners (a ScanStation and a ScanStation 2) to survey cell structures. He noted that vertical real estate is valuable, but costly mistakes are being made. In some cases, customers aren’t paying for space allocated to them. Traditional methods of surveying in these applications are very labor intensive and risky, and a large majority of traditional surveys are incorrect. By combining scanning with traditional methods, the firm has been able to increase the safety of its crews while providing clients with precise data in the form of 360-degree animated panoramas around cell towers along with CAD drawings and other deliverables. One of the company’s clients noted that laser scanning is “an excellent and necessary investment that will continue to offer new solutions.”

A presentation by Richard Lasater, president of Smart MultiMedia Inc., Houston, highlighted several innovative applications of scanning technology. In one case, the firm developed a 3D video game-based presentation of an MRI for pediatric patients at Children’s Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In another case, the firm scanned the 2009 American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition and posted the top five sandcastles online to generate additional interest in scanning. They then pulled the linework off the winning sand castles to show architects how to use HDS. “Most of what we do is teach people about the capabilities of the technology,” Lasater said. The company, which relies on outside engineering and surveying expertise, is gaining new business in heritage scanning and building information modeling (BIM) using HDS technology.

Pierre Gouvin, president of GEO-Instruments LLC in Providence, R.I., discussed the automation of geotechnical monitoring in a project for Seattle’s Sound Transit-reportedly the first automated geotechnical scanning application in the world. The project required data to be sent to a Web database in real time, which the company achieved through the use of its WiSe (wireless sensor) tiltmeter system. Two ScanStation 2 instruments and two automated motorized total stations (AMTS) were used to collect more than 1GB of data per day. The resulting data are housed offsite on FTP servers for future use by the client.

Carlos Velasquez, project manager at Epic Scan Ltd., Medford, Ore., has spent the last decade exploring scanning technology. He noted that he spends a substantial amount of time educating clients about the possibilities. “Ninety to ninety-five percent of clients still haven’t heard about laser scanning,” he said. He noted that education will drive the technology’s use to unprecedented levels but that firms need to keep it simple and focus on the client’s needs rather than on the technology itself. Velasquez said that Epic Scan incorporates scanning into every project and embeds the costs so that it generates additional revenue for the firm.

Attendees gather around the new Leica ScanStation C10 during a break.

Other presentations addressed the use of HDS technology for topographic mapping, plant scanning, forensics and scanning building facades. A highlight of the event was Leica’s new ScanStation C10, which was on display outside the conference room. A presentation by Gregory Walsh, Ph.D., vice president of Systems Engineering at Leica Geosystems, summarized the benefits of the technology-most notably its compact, lightweight, integrated design that includes a scanner, tilt sensor, battery, controller, data storage, auto-adjusting video camera and laser plummet.

Although laser scanning technology has been available for quite some time, firms are still finding new ways to push the envelope and stay on the bleeding edge. While such innovation carries certain risks, the payoff can be substantial.


A Webcast of the event is available. Contact your local Leica Geosystems HDS representative, Leica Geosystems HDS Customer Support or Geoff Jacobs at geoff.jacobs@lgshds.com to find out how to purchase online access to the audio/video coverage of more than 30 presentations from the conference. For more information about HDS technology, including the new ScanStation C10, visit Leica Geosystems online.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Christine Grahl

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.

POB

POB October 2014 Cover

2014 October

In this October 2014 issue of POB, we explore cities across Europe pursuing new sustainable energy policies. Also, read how 3D laser scanning produces a winning topographic survey for a high school football field and running track.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Webinars

How many webinars have you participated in over the past 12 months?
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.