Can Leica's MultiStation Transform Geospatial Workflows?
Las Vegas – With a sense of accomplishment and perhaps a tinge of relief, Juergen Mayer stood proudly in front of a jam-packed audience during a session of HxGN Live and explained how Leica Geosystems' new product could help transform the geospatial profession.
Mayer, the director of surveying TPS for Leica, said the company’s “multistation,” the Nova MS50, had been in development for the last five years and the idea was spawned two years before that. He was enjoying the birthday party.
“As you can imagine, today is a big day for me. … Always when such a long period comes to an end, when we get close to a launch, things get very tight, the nights get very long,” Mayer said during his breakout session on June 4. “I’m really happy we made the announcement today.”
The unveiling, about two hours before Mayer’s talk, came complete with smoke, a laser light show and a champagne toast for everyone inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas from Leica President and CEO Juergen Dold.
Executives justified all the pomp and circumstance, saying that the MS50, based on proprietary “mergTEC” technology that merges hardware and software capabilities, will transform the way geospatial professionals complete their workflows, because it integrates 3D point cloud measurements and point-cloud processing into a total station. It allows professionals to collect and visualize topographic survey data through high-precision scanning.
“What we’re doing is redefining how you do (workflows),” Dold said. “You don’t need two instruments (in the field) because you have this intelligence with a scanning multistation.”
But it’s more than the Swiss Army knife of surveying tools, the Switzerland-based Mayer said, because it integrates a 3D laser scanner with GNSS positioning and the corresponding software for merging that data into digital imagery in the field. The multistation can be integrated with Leica Infinity, Leica MultiWorx for AutoCAD, Leica Cyclone and Leica GeoMoS and numerous third-party software packages to fit specific needs.
The product can be utilized in many different applications, such as surveying, infrastructure, construction, forensics and mining. It seems to be limited only by the imagination, as Mayer demonstrated in several videos during his presentation. One video showed the geospatial mapping of a competitive slalom skier’s track down a mountain in an effort to improve his time. The image processing technology delivers high-quality live video streaming.
Stephen Marevic, director and surveyor for Morley, Australia-based Alliance Surveying, a heavy construction surveyor, said a practical and valuable application of the multistation he sees is that the scanner can calculate the volume of a pile of sand or gravel efficiently by using the built-in 3D imaging software.
“You don’t need to get someone in with a laser scanner anymore; you can do it with your total station that you use on a daily basis,” Marevic said. “Working in large concrete areas or steel fabrication areas, it probably would be very handy.”
The MS50 features an overview camera and a telescope camera with 30 times magnification and autofocus. The scanner captures 1,000 points per second up to 300 meters, with a range of up to 1,000 meters at millimeter accuracy and reflectorless range past 2,000 meters.
The price depends on local market conditions, sources said, but somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000 in the United States can be expected without training or support. Shipments began June 5, and Leica North American Region President Ken Mooyman said that inventory is stockpiled for additional orders.
Mooyman added that he went through a training course on the MS50 and learned the new features, including the laser scanning component, in about two hours.
“Scanning with the multistation is really more of an extension of traditional workflows, not a disruption,” Mooyman said. “That has been huge.”
Check out Leica Geosystems' YouTube channel for more videos featuring the Nova MS50.