NEWS: Cyclone 9.0 boasts host of new features for point cloud processing

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Leica Geosystems is claiming a major leap forward in laser scanning project efficiency with Cyclone 9.0, the latest release of its point cloud solution for processing laser scan data.

Advances in the software are said to benefit both field and office thanks to ‘significantly faster’, easier scan registration, plus quicker deliverable creation thanks to better 2D and 3D drafting tools and steel modelling. Cyclone 9.0 is also said to scale easily for larger, more complex projects.

When Leica Geosystems first introduced cloud-to-cloud registration, it enabled users to accurately execute laser scanning projects without having to physically place special targets around the scene, scan them, and model them in the office. With cloud-to-cloud registration software, users take advantage of overlaps among scans to register them together.

“The new Automatic Scan Alignment and Visual Registration capabilities in Cyclone 9.0 represent the biggest advancement in cloud-to-cloud registration since we introduced it,” explains Dr. Chris Thewalt, VP Laser Scanning Software. “Cyclone 9.0 lets users benefit from targetless scanning more often by performing the critical scan registration step far more efficiently in the office for many projects. As users increase the size and scope of their scanning projects, Cyclone 9.0 pays even bigger dividends. Any user who registers laser scan data will find great value in these capabilities.”

With the push of a button, Cyclone 9.0 automatically processes scans and, if available, digital images to create groups of overlapping scans that are initially aligned to each other. Once scan alignment is completed, algorithmic registration is applied for final registration. This new workflow option can be used in conjunction with target registration methods as well.

Power user Marta Wren, technical specialist at Plowman Craven Associates (PCA – leading UK chartered surveying firm) found that Cyclone 9.0’s Visual Registration tools alone sped up registration processing of scans by up to four times faster than previous methods. PCA uses laser scanning for civil infrastructure, commercial property, forensics, entertainment and Building Information Modelling (BIM) applications.

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For civil applications, new roadway alignment drafting tools let users import LandXML-based roadway alignments or use simple polylines imported or created in Cyclone. These tools are said to allow users to easily create cross section templates using feature codes, as well as copy them to the next station and visually adjust them to fit roadway conditions at the new location. A new vertical exaggeration tool in Cyclone 9.0 allows users to clearly see subtle changes in elevation; linework created between cross sections along the roadway can be used as breaklines for surface meshing or for 2D maps and drawings in other applications.

For 2D drafting of forensic scenes, building and BIM workflows, a new Quick Slice tool streamlines the process of creating a 2D sketch plane for drafting items, such as building footprints and sections, into just one step. A user only needs to pick one or two points on the face of a building to get started. This tool can also be used to quickly analyse the quality of registrations by visually checking where point clouds overlap.

Also included in Cyclone 9.0 are powerful, automatic point extraction features, first introduced in Cyclone II TOPO and Leica CloudWorx. These include efficient SmartPicks for automatically finding bottom, top, and tie point locations and Points-on-a-Grid for automatically placing up to a thousand scan survey points on a grid for ground surfaces or building faces.

For plant, civil, building and BIM applications, Cyclone 9.0 also introduces a patent-pending innovation for modelling steel from point cloud data more quickly and easily. Unlike time consuming methods that require either processing an entire available cloud to fit a steel shape or isolating a cloud section before fitting, this new tool is said to allow users to quickly and accurately model specific steel elements directly within congested point clouds. Users only need to make two picks along a steel member to model it. Shapes include wide flange, channel, angle, tee, and rectangular tube shapes.

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