National Surveyors Week – background and trivia

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NATIONAL SURVEYORS WEEK - BACKGROUND AND TRIVIA

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In the United States National Surveyors Week is celebrated every year starting on the third Sunday of March. The week is dedicated to surveyors and is intended to honor and educate the profession. While it started out in the US, National Surveyors Week is nowadays celebrated by many around the globe. This year, we like to honor the occasion by giving you a little background info and trivia.

Since the beginning of recorded history, surveyors have been instrumental in advancing society. The construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza in 2700 BC is one of the earliest examples in the history of land surveying. Surveying is also used in transportation, communications, mapping, and establishing legal boundaries for land ownership. Many scientific disciplines also use this important tool for research.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 54,800 surveyors in the United States. They have expertise in:

– Geometry / Trigonometry,
– Regression analysis
– Physics, Meteorology
– Engineering
– Programming languages
– Law

While the fundamentals of surveying have remained the same, the surveying instruments today are much more technologically advanced than in the past. Drones and lasers have now replaced most of the work done with a telescope on a tripod. Remote sensing and satellite imagery are becoming more accurate and affordable, so they are used more and more these days. Probably the most important new technology in recent years is three-dimensional scanning (3D laser scanning).

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History of National Surveyor Week

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The first National Surveyors Week was proclaimed on February 13, 1984 by the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). In addition, the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to recognize professional surveyors and their remarkable contributions. There are many famous land surveyors who have played a major role in the history of the settlement of North America. George Washington, the first recognized land surveyor, is probably the most famous of them all. 

Current use of laser scanning

Today, there are numerous industries that have discovered laser scanning for themselves. The advantages are obvious: laser scanning makes it possible to create a precise digital image of reality – the digital twin.  

This is why PointCab Origins is also used in various sectors. We have compiled a selection of industries in which laser scanning is used. Common areas of application are:

– Architecture
– Heritage
– Construction (As Built)
– Industrial plants
– Surveying
– Craftsmanship

 This is also how our PointCab Origins point cloud software is used in various fields.

Want to learn more? Then check out these links:

National Society of Professional Surveyors website:  https://www.nsps.us.com/
Washington as Public Land Surveyor: https://www.loc.gov/collections/george-washington-papers/articles-and-essays/george-washington-survey-and-mapmaker/washington-as-public-land-surveyor/

Initiative to win over young talent: https://www.getkidsintosurvey.com/

PointCab Origins trial version: https://pointcab-software.com/en/point-cloud-software/trial-version/ 

PointCab Welcomes The Map Lady as Master VAR for the US

MasterVAR_The_Map_Lady

PointCab Welcomes The Map Lady as Master VAR for the US

MasterVAR_The_Map_Lady

After welcoming Seiler Instruments as a Master VAR for the US in 2020, the German company PointCab is now proudly announcing another Master VAR for the United States:
The Map Lady, of Tucson, Arizona, and New York City.

With this new partnership, PointCab will broaden its reach in the United States and cover more ground while expanding on solutions and support services. From now on, The Map Lady and Seiler will complement each other, with The Map Lady covering all states outside of Seiler territory. 

PointCab CEO Dr. Richard Steffen is convinced that PointCab has found the perfect partner in The Map Lady. He says: “At PointCab, we strive to think outside the box and find new and creative solutions. We like to stand out and take chances with new technologies. With the Map Lady, we have found a like-minded partner. Taylor, The Map Lady’s CEO, brings many qualities to the table that we’re looking for in a Master VAR. She has tons of hands-on experience with GIS and laser scanning, especially mobile LIDAR. She’s always on the road talking to users, listening to their needs, and trying to come up with the best solutions for them. She’s an innovator and truly passionate about her work. With her we gain deep insights into the wants and needs of the US market and a well-versed PointCab representative.”

Taylor Handschuh, CEO of The Map Lady shares PointCab’s sentiment. She says:
“We are elated to offer PointCab’s software to our clients, as these are the exact tools that we have used to process point cloud data since our initial uptake of Mobile LiDAR scanners in 2018. The visualization of data, the extensive list of compatible file types, and documentation of applied transformations and workflow are unparalleled. As someone who has entered the ‘Reality Capture’ arena from the ‘GIS corner’, I am impressed by how this software handles real-world coordinates with zero loss or distortion; processed point clouds and resulting data, including .shp,.dxf, .dwg, and .rcp, all maintain their positions and spatial attribution. The Map Lady trusts that anyone looking to bridge the gap from their scanners’ output to their existing BIM or GIS workflow, can make this connection with the PointCab Software suite.

The Map Lady

Our partnership with PointCab creates a direct channel to express the needs of the American Market directly to the team in Germany, and they are very receptive to client requests. After making the trip to Stuttgart to meet the team, I recognized that the people from the other side of our routine zoom meetings truly shared the passion for problem-solving in 3D, understanding how these tools are used differently within a given vertical, and providing our clients & partners with an experience that is never transactional but accessible & enriching.

Between the innovative PointCab team and The Map Lady’s applied experience, we have the tools and the know-how to get your LiDAR data or point clouds where you need them to be, and assure that your team can make the most of the data you collect as well!”

PointCab Mobile Mapping Weeks

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POINTCAB MOBILE MAPPING Weeks

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Learn how to harness the power of Origins with GeoSLAM, NavVis or Emesent.

Between  December 7th and 16th, we are hosting special webinars together with these 3 mobile mapping providers to show you the different mobile mapping workflows with Origins.

Register now!

 

EMESENT WEBINAR: FROM POINT CLOUDS TO CAD DRAWINGS

Dezember 7th, 9.30AM (CET)

Emesent’s Hovermap solution shows its strength when it comes to terrain that is difficult to access. Mounted on a drone, the intelligent mobile mapping solution autonomously scans the area using LIDAR. In this webinar, we will show you how to get the most out of Hovermap data with Origins.

 

NAVVIS WEBINAR: IMPROVING CAD WORKFLOWS WITH MOBILE MAPPING TECHNOLOGIES

Dezember 9th, 5.30PM (CET)

In this webinar, Pascal Groothedde explains how he, as a NavVis user, uses Origins in daily practice to transfer his data into the CAD system. He presents one of his projects and shows us how his workflow works. Martin Graner (PointCab) and Frieder Kirn (NavVis) will also be on hand to share tips and tricks on mobile mapping with Origins + NavVis.

 

GEOSLAM WEBINAR: MOBILE MAPPING - EASY, SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE SCAN TO CAD

Dezember 16th, 11.00AM (CET)

Our Origins solution is perfectly adapted to the workflow with GeoSLAM devices. So well, in fact, that Origins has been integrated with GeoSLAM as a OEM software under the name GeoSLAM Draw. In this webinar, our experts show you step by step how to transfer your GeoSLAM data into your CAD system and how Draw helps you with this.

Lidar Community mourns the death of Martin Isenburg

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LIDAR COMMUNITY MOURNS THE DEATH OF MARTIN ISENBURG

Martin Isenburg was an outstanding software developer, bright mind and pioneer in the field of lidar and topographic data processing. As the father of the .las/.laz format, he helped to simplify the exchange of point cloud data worldwide and thus leaves a great legacy. His LAStools have also been popularly and frequently used throughout the LIDAR sector and his open source LiDAR compressor LASzip has become the de facto industry standard for compressed LiDAR. 

Martin has always been willing to share openly with others and has been a promoter and driver of new innovations and ideas. Individual members of our team have also had frequent exchanges with Martin and will greatly miss the stimulating conversations we had together.

It was with great dismay that we learned that Martin succumbed to his battle with bipolar disorder and suicide last week. The world thus loses a great thought leader and an outstanding personality. We mourn together with his family, friends and loved ones.

We urgently appeal to all those who are themselves struggling with mental illness to overcome the social stigma around it and turn to specialised support services

PointCab signs Petition for Open Point Cloud Formats

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POINTCAB SIGNS PETITION FOR OPEN POINT CLOUD FORMATS

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The eternal problem with converting

When working with point cloud data, users still have to jump back and forth between different data formats. Using different software solutions or even sharing data often requires conversion to open formats such as .e57. The constant conversion of data consumes time, resources, and storage capacity. In addition, this process often leads to a loss of information. 

Although these problems are well known, the market has not yet reacted. Shouldn’t we be glad that open formats like .las, .laz, or .e57 exist at all? It is true that before these formats were published, there was practically no way to pass on point cloud data to other systems in a meaningful way. In the meantime, however, this solution is simply no longer practicable. 

While the computing power for point cloud processing has increased significantly over the years, the volume of data has also grown considerably.  More and more points and additional information are being collected to produce more precise and reliable results. However, higher data volumes also mean a longer conversion times. Time that cloud surely be used more efficiently. In addition, the .e57 format – the industry standard – is compressed rather poorly and requires much more storage capacity than other formats. Heavy point cloud users will quickly run into a storage problem that will also put a strain on their wallets. Similar problems occur with data transfer. Downloading a point cloud project might take serval hours.

 

The solution

But what can be done in practice to combat these problems? The solution is actually fairly obvious. If all software on the market were able to read the native formats of the various laser scanners and software directly and, in the best case, also write them, the age of constant conversion would be a thing of the past. This would be technically possible without much hassle. So why is it not happening?

In order for a software to be able to read other point cloud formats, you need a so-called Software Development Kit (SDK) from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers, such as RIEGL, already make their SDK available to other applications.  Unfortunately, there are still many other manufacturers who do not yet provide SDKs and so the user is still forced to convert their data.

 

The petition

The petition for open point cloud formats therefore calls on manufacturers who have not yet made an SDK available to do so. This would not only be in the interest of the end user. Research and even the manufacturers themselves would also benefit. That is why we have signed the petition and plan to make an SDK for our own .lsd format available soon. 

If you also think that something has to change, then join us with your voice and sign the petition too.

 

Point Cloud Processing on macOS

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Point Cloud Processing on macOS

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Apple has become a synonym for good design. So it’s no wonder that Apple’s devices are in high demand among designers and architects. However, especially in the LIDAR sector, where more and more designers, architects, and real estate companies are entering the field, the predominant operating system is still Windows. As Apple has integrated a lidar sensor in their latest device it can be expected that Apple will be part of capturing the world in 3D in the coming years. To keep up with the expected demand, we at PointCab decided to take the lead and release the first commercial software for comprehensive LIDAR point cloud processing on macOS. While software like Arena 4D Studio Professional already offer point cloud visualization, they do not provide the manipulation capabilities that our Origins software  offers. 

Our Origins software for macOS works almost identically to its Windows counterpart. It can read all open laser scanning formats and its results are compatible with all prevalent CAD software. However, since some hardware and software providers do not supply their own macOS solutions yet, they also don’t have a SDK readily available to allow Origins to read their native formats.

 

Nevertheless, our CEO and co-founder Dr. Richard Steffen is confident some of the industry will follow soon: “For quite some time now we’ve been playing with the idea to make Origins available for macOS. We’ve seen CloudCompare doing a great job with their open-source software for macOS and expected commercial hardware and software manufacturers to follow soon. Since our software is known for its great inter-compatibility, we hoped for other manufacturers to take the lead and then port their format SDK to macOS. After we renewed the whole structure of our software with our Origins 4.0 version we thought there’s no better time to work on a macOS version.”

 

“We finally decided to take matters into our own hands and not to wait around any more. We’ve reached out to other manufacturers to make their format SDKs available and were mostly received in kind. RIEGL for example was one of the first to respond and is in contact with our developers as we speak. It seems like the compatibility with macOS is in the back of everyone’s minds but since most other players in the industry rely on Windows it never makes top priority. Honestly, it was very much the same for us and if we hadn’t released our Windows 4.0 version, we still might not have a macOS version. As a software provider that relies on compatibility with other manufacturers, it’s a gamble to put our resources towards a less prevalent operating system. Only the future can tell if we’ve made the right bet covering this niche market. So far, we’ve received a lot of interest, especially from CAD users that work on macOS. We hope that us making the first move as a commercial provider will inspire others to do the same.”

So far, our Origins software has been tested successfully on macOS Big Sur 11, Catalina 10.15, and Mojave 10.14. In terms of hardware, it works on any Apple computer with an Intel-based processor (x64). We’re also confident that the compatibility for the latest Apple M1 ARM-based Chip will follow with the next updates.

As with our Windows version, the Origins software does not require high-performance hardware components to run smoothly. As demonstrated in our preview webinar on May 27th a Mini Mac with 8GB RAM already does the trick. 


Point Clouds in BricsCAD

BricsCAD point cloud punktwolken plugin

EASY POINT CLOUD MODELING IN BRICSCAD

Point clouds in BricsCAD? Easy as can be with our new 4Brics plugin.

BricsCAD point cloud punktwolken plugin

PointCab 4Brics - Why a BricsCAD point cloud plugin?

As you may know, we already developed point cloud plugins for Revit and Archicad. Now, we are happy to announce that we have also developed a plugin that will simplify the modeling of point clouds in BricsCAD. The decision to develop a BricsCAD plugin was an easy one. For months, more and more customers approached us and asked for us to develop a BricsCAD solution. Those who know our team know that we always try to implement customer requests as quickly as possible and try to respond to all requests. So it’s not surprising that we got to work right after the first requests came in.

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How was the plugin developed?

We are developers and point cloud professionals. We are not BricsCAD experts and we openly admit to that. This is the reason why, when developing our BricsCAD plugin, we did what we always do in such cases – consult the expertise of our customers. Therefore we spent months studying the BricsCAD software and the workflow of our BricsCAD users. Special mention must be made here of Sebastian Zell, who has been massively involved in all stages of development, from conception to beta testing. The result is a plugin that perfectly matches the workflow of our BricsCAD customers and the architecture of the BricsCAD software.

What can the plugin do and how are point clouds modeled in BricsCAD with it?

Our 4Brics plugin helps you to transfer 3D information from Origins to BricsCAD in the correct position and in real-time. This way you don’t have to export the entire point cloud or individual orthophotos first and then import them into BricsCAD. As already mentioned, we have adapted our plugin to the architecture and structure of the BricsCAD software. That is why there is the function to fix axes. In principle, single or multiple axes can be fixed, depending on what is needed at the moment.  For example, the x and y-axis can be fixed if heights are to be determined. Measurements are generally made with the 3D point tool in Origins. No matter whether lines, surfaces, or individual objects from your own templates are to be transferred – simply click on the desired element in Origins and it will be transferred to BricsCAD in the correct position. As usual, the 3D point tool can be used in the standard views, layouts & sections, or panoramic views. No matter which view you use, the information from the point cloud is always transferred correctly to BricsCAD. In addition to the transfer of 3D point cloud data, we have also implemented other functions that make your work in BricsCAD easier. For example, our multilines tool allows you to create several individual lines one after the other without interruption. Preparing your data for other CAD software is also done with just a few clicks. For example, you can transfer the data from your user coordinate system to the world coordinate system or flatten the heights. This way the data can also be read into CAD software like Revit or ArchiCAD. 

If you want to learn more, take a look at our overview video or visit our online shop.

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PointCab Origins 4.0 – a Review

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PointCab Origins 4.0 – A Review

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Karol Argasińsk: BIM Manager and freelance surveyor 

On April 07, 2021 we officially released our new Origins 4.0 version. One week before, on March 31 our developers presented in a webinar what the new version has to offer. 

Karol Argasiński, a long-time PointCab user and beta tester, took this opportunity to write a review of our new version for Lidar News. Read his take on the update here.

Of course, you can decide for yourself what you think of Origins 4.0

In this in-depth webinar, our developers show you the most important changes we’ve made to the new version. You can find all the features listed on our changelog.