A point cloud is created by scanning an area with a 3D Laser Scanner. This scan is then imported into post-processing software (unless desired accuracy is obtained in real-time) where errors are removed. After processing the data, modeling software is used where the clouds can either be geo-referenced to a ground plane or manipulated locally without reference. From here, point clouds are then exported into computer-aided design (CAD) or building information modeling (BIM) systems, where they can be manipulated further, generating meshes and applying boundary conditions to generate accurate and realistic 3D models (1). Even with an explanation of a point cloud it is still hard to understand what a point cloud is if one has not been familiarized with the technology. When the user performs a scan, the laser scanner sends out beams of light in many different directions. As these light beams are reflected to the scanner, the system uses a datalogger to record reflected positions as localized vectors. These scan files can contain as little as thousands of logged vectors or as many as millions, if not billions depending on the scanning project at hand. These 3D vectors are then used in the post-processing software to generate a visualized point cloud.
For years Inertial Labs has produced high accuracy Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) at the world’s best price-performance ratio. An INS estimates the position, attitude, and velocity using the gyroscopes and accelerometers contained inside an inertial measurement unit (IMU). Position accuracy can be greatly improved when the INS is aided by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). However, GNSS is not always available. Customer requirements demand for better performance of an INS during a GNSS outage. Outages can be caused by tunnels, urban canyons, roads under bridges, etc.
Ensuring our infrastructure is running, and our job and construction sites are safe should be a top priority. However, the maintenance and inspections needed is inherently dangerous and often time-consuming and repetitive, making drones instrumental and valuable tools.
Drones can capture all kinds of data from images and videos, LiDAR scanning, mapping data, and a variety of data types related to air conditions, location, and precision location, including inertial data. As a result of using drones for these initial inspections, we can more quickly pinpoint the location and cause of the problem, and ensure that fewer humans are put in harm’s way.
Hydrography and Bathymetry
Bathymetric or Hydrographic surveys are survey methods used for submarine topography that have been implemented for observation of marine landscapes and structures for several decades. With the technology for executing a survey becoming more affordable, many businesses which can benefit from such data begin to pursue the proper equipment to use for themselves. Most users have a common goal of being environmentally aware of changes occurring due to the interaction with nature. Studying these changes usually involves measuring physical and chemical features of a body of water; or generating a 3D map of an underwater landscape/structure, to show its current state, or how it changes over time. A few examples of these survey methods being put into practice are:
- Floodplain analysis
- Dock maintenance
- Seafloor tectonic interpretation
- Submarine life conservation
- Submarine natural resources deposit investigations
Embention began investigating Inertial Labs as a supplier for inertial measurement units (IMU) or attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS) in 2013. Their developing project would involve integrating such sensors with targeted munition rounds specifically designed for controlling and mitigating forest fires.
In subsequent years, the Inertial Labs Inertial Navigation System became an appealing GPS-Denied navigation solution for Embention, who started discussing an integration with the Veronte Autopilot (produced by Embention) in 2016. Inertial Labs is delighted to announce the successful completion of integration efforts on November 26, 2019 when the INS-P, the professional version of the INS, was declared fully integrated and validated through testing.