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Scan data in the field made easy

During a 3D laser-scanning project, it is not a common sight to see the land surveyor working on his or her tablet, analyzing near real-time data. Yet. Enter the Trimble X7.

Chris Travillian, Marketing Manager Optical and 3D Scanning Instruments, witnessed the evolution of Trimble’s new laser-scanner, the X7. “When Trimble set out to create the X7, we drew back a bit and asked ourselves some basic questions. Where is laser scanning going, how does the customer use laser scanning and what is most important to that customer? We interviewed over 550 people for this project alone, over various stages. From pre-development on through customers that were being interviewed in the field recently about how the system works.”

Trimble X7
During a 3D laser-scanning project, it is not a common sight to see the land surveyor working on his or her tablet, analysing near real-time data. Yet. Enter the Trimble X7.

Complexities of the unknown

One of the key customer problems Trimble was trying to solve after these interviews was the expertise required to adopt a scanning solution. The company also wanted to eliminate some of the known ‘pain points’ like registration and the complexities of the unknown about registration that customers experience. Travillian explains: “Once you get point file data together back in the office, you quickly do a registration to combine all that data” explains Travillian, “It was part of the registration that was causing all the unknown and the complexities back in the office.” Trimble wanted their users to have more awareness at the moment of capture? “Sure, to save time, that’s the whole point of this part of the system. It’s a real-time monitor, not only a command and control system itself, but also to gather the data, see, analyse and make sure that the registration is working in the field.”

User Interface expertise

“Our dedicated UI UX expert wasn’t a laser scanning professional coming into this. He was in the concept of ‘user interfaces’. He also came with a beginner’s mind, and that’s where we wanted to look at. He was able to ask easy questions which were really hard to solve”, Travillian says. One of the things that immediately come to the fore, is the ‘no screen scanner’ and the big screen of the connected tablet. “There’s the simplicity on the hardware side and then the whole system solution. We wanted to make sure that the user has all the power and all the tools. In the last ten years, when scanning started, it was just capture. We took the data to the office and only then we made the decisions. Where scanning is going to fundamentally change for our user base is being able to make decisions in the field.”

Read more: Trimble enhances its indoor mobile mapping solution

On the spot annotations

Chris Travillian paints a lively portrait of the workforce: “When you are out in the field, you are very much in tune with your environment. Sometimes you get back to the office only after a couple of days. So, when you are processing the data there, maybe there is some critical element missing. Or something else is wrong. Either you do not remember or you have had a hard time conveying that information. That is why we are now also enabling things like simple annotations where you can comment and make on the spot annotations. When you create that annotation, it will be represented fully in your 3D environment. The picture is geo tagged with that information.  Getting the information with annotation is helping convey site conditions. It is helping give that full site experience to the user back in the office.”

Read More: Trimble blends performance and simplicity with new x7 3D laser-scanning system

Trimble Realworks software
Enhanced Realworks software for field work.

Realworks and the workflow

Trimble has also enhanced their Realworks software for field work. Travillian: “This is the first time we ha>ve adapted Realworks to the field. It is really to drive the intuitiveness of data capture, make sure their completeness, the awareness of site conditions. This way, users can get full clarity about and full perspective on their point cloud. Right there in the field all scans are ready and put together in real time.” Up until now, users haven’t been organising their scannin>g workflow that way. “That’s the key part of this system, it’s changing the whole workflow. I’ve captured a scan, the data has come into the project, it’s auto oriented, just to make it a little easier, and right then and there I can start looking at my point file data in 3D.”