This week, the GeoDataPoint and POB team was in Las Vegas for Trimble Dimensions 2014. This year's event exceeded expectations with more than 4,000 attendees from around the world. Other items of interest include news from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where a team is developing a next-generation 3D scanning LiDAR; an interesting interview from engadget about the future of drones with 3D Robotics' Colin Guinn; Dell's announcement on putting depth-sensing 3D cameras in more Android, Windows devices; and Time Magazine reveals "the best drone you can buy right now."

During the opening address Monday, Nov. 3, Rob Painter, general manager, Trimble Buildings, described a beautiful building on the Las Vegas Strip that will be torn down before it opens due to "a $279 million mistake" of defects in the building's steel reinforcements. Painter went on to say that while The Harmon building is an extreme example of a project gone wrong, it highlights issues with the vertical construction industry and Trimble is working to help build and operate better buildings.

Also Monday, keynote speaker Greg "Boss" Wooldridge, a former Blue Angels officer, gave a fascinating speech about his time with the U.S. Navy elite team and showed video of the impressive jet fighters in action. Wooldridge used his experiences to talk about the core values of success: "the four P's." They include process, product, purpose and people, he said.

News from NASA

A team of technologists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is developing a next-generation 3D scanning lidar, dubbed the Goddard Reconfiguable Solid-state Scanning Lidar (GRSSLi), that could provide the imagery needed to execute these orbital dances, reports Space Daily.

"We have made a tremendous amount of progress," said Nat Gill, GRSSLi principal investigator at Goddard. "We have a long way to go, but we hope to validate the GRSSLi system this fall."

The Future of Drones

Engadget sits down with Colin Guinn of 3D Robotics for interesting insight into drones. Read the entire interview here. Guinn, when asked why he thinks drones have become so popular with mainstream consumers: "A lot of forces have come together. First, the technology has not only gotten better and better, but just like with computers, it's also become much cheaper and easier to use. For instance, in terms of technology, all 3DR platforms are fully autonomous drones, which means you don't even need to fly them yourself if you don't want: Just draw a flight path on a tablet, and the drone goes where you tell it to. But "cheap plus easy" isn't by itself a formula for success; the technology is also incredibly useful. Now anyone can easily and reliably capture amazing aerial photos and videos with a GoPro, seeing themselves and their world in a way that will alter their whole perspective. Also, and probably most importantly, 3DR has been committed to changing the public's perception of drones, which is really instrumental: More and more now, people are recognizing that drones are really vehicles for good. They can help us live more sustainably, see our world in a new way, grow more and better food, work smarter and more efficiently, protect species and resources, save lives. It goes on."

Dell announced it will bring virtual reality to more Windows and Android devices next year, replacing 2D cameras with depth-sensing 3D cameras. "Dell later this month will introduce its first tablet, the Venue 8 7000, with such a camera, and more tablets and PCs will come next year. The 3D camera in the Venue 8 7000 could be used for augmented reality, measurements and 3D scanning and printing, Hand said. For example, it will be able to provide rough measurements of rooms that would be useful to real-estate brokers."

Time Magazine claims the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is the best drone for most people. Do you agree? The article says: "Dozens of pre-assembled consumer drones are now available between at prices between $200 and $9,000, and we looked into virtually all of them. After 35 hours of research and dozens of flights, we had to agree with the opinions of most experts and everyday users: For aerial photography, videography, and generally having fun, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is the best drone for most people from first-time flyers to experienced novices."