Certainty 3Ds new free Web App version of the popular TopoPLANNER will be introduced this week. Hundreds of companies successfully use the free download of TopoPLANNER to accurately lay out scan positions, control survey networks as well as estimate schedule and cost for laser scanning project. Now TopoPLANNER is a web-based application and available to those potential users who could not download and install software on their desktop workstations. Youll find the link to TopoPLANNER at www.certainty3d.com.
Years of field experience for civil infrastructure applications were exploited by the Certainty 3D team in the development of TopoPLANNER. TopoPLANNER is very user-friendly, intuitive and applicable to any static LiDAR system. Several hundred current users can attest to the utility of TopoPLANNER for outdoor laser scanning applications. Simply input the correct LiDAR scanner operating parameters such as time per scan, range to control target, height of scanner from ground into the TopoPLANNER system table along with hourly field costs. Then quickly and accurately estimate project layouts, schedules and costs. Share this project internally and with customers.
TopoPLANNER is intuitive and easy to learn. Using TopoPLANNER to plan a typical roadway LiDAR survey illustrates just some of its operational highlights.
Use publically available aerials as your project background. Select the type of map and the project location.
Survey Reference Control Plan
Lay out the reference control network along roadway. TopoDOT will accept a distance between reference targets and provide a circle of that radius for reference. Place the control in unobstructed areas, easily accessible with a clear line of sight to expected scanner positions.
TopoPLANNER accepts the expected time per survey control point as a parameter, 10 minutes in this case (RTK plus level run), a realistic distance between control reference targets and the hourly operating cost for the field team.
This data combined with the expected control layout will yield the cost and time for implementing the reference survey control plan.
LiDAR Scanning Plan
Once control is established, TopoPLANNER accepts the scan position layout. Begin by inputting the expected operating parameters for your scanner. This requires a bit of experience and thought. First keep in mind that the expected scan time encompasses the entire operation and not simply scanning time alone. So input a scan time that includes transport, setup, target acquisition, image acquisition, and QA/QC on the position, etc. The best way to do this is simply consider how many scans the operator typically acquires in a full day and divide by that time.
TopoPLANNER accepts three scan times as our field experience has shown that scan positions do not all require the same amount of time. For example, busy intersections with traffic signals will typically take longer than open road positions next to moving traffic. So TopoPLANNER provides three levels of scan times for planning.
Scanner coverage is represented by a circle overlay with the scanner at the center. Note that coverage is derived by scanner height and not the range of the scanner itself. This range is calculated as the scanner beam being about 5 degrees off parallel to the road surface. This will be the effective range of the scanner down the road.
Once parameters have been entered, simply place at the desired position in TopoPLANNER. Assure the edges of the circle are touching and that the realities of the project site such as obstructions, driveways, intersections, etc. have been taken into account and the scanner placed accordingly.
Note also that TopoPLANNER will place a vector from the scan position to any targets within a specified range. This is also very useful for planning control and assuring that each scan position will have an unobstructed line of site to the reference target. A word of caution is that typically scanners on tripods will not be able to locate targets across a busy roadway due to the constant flow of traffic obstructing the line of site.
As was the case with the survey reference target control locations, an hourly cost is associated with each scan position. So that once the scanner positions and reference target locations have been placed, TopoPLANNER offers an estimate of scanning time and cost for this project.
TopoPLANNER is a powerful tool for estimating LiDAR scanning project costs and schedules. Moreover TopoPLANNER can be used to evaluate equipment selection by comparing operational costs between different terrestrial LiDAR scanners. For example, is the lower productivity of a less expensive but slower system justified if operational costs will increase? TopoPLANNER can assist in making these assessments also.
Certainty 3D is pleased to make TopoPLANNER available as a free web application to the LiDAR community. The Certainty 3D team welcomes any feedback on TopoPLANNER or any other LiDAR technology topics. Finally keep an eye out for the upcoming TopoMISSION web application designed for terrestrial mobile LiDAR project planning.