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  • Unlocking Drone Compatibility: ROCK Robotic's Universal Mount for the R3 Pro LiDAR

    ROCK has an exciting announcement that will transform your mapping operations — the R3 Pro LiDAR now works with any drone! No more limitations, a lot more options. Read the article to learn more about the new ROCK Universal Mount and see it in action on the Freefly Systems Astro drone. Unleashing the Power of LiDAR LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology has significantly advanced the field of surveying and mapping. Its ability to generate highly accurate 3D models of terrain, structures, and environments has been a game-changer for various industries such as agriculture, forestry, construction, and environmental monitoring. However, to truly unlock the potential of aerial LiDAR and the ROCK R3 Pro (previously only compatible with the DJI M300 & DJI M350), a reliable and efficient mounting system is crucial. This is where the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount steps in, designed to seamlessly integrate with the R3 Pro LiDAR. Introducing the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount The ROCK Universal Mount is a state-of-the-art mounting solution designed for optimal integration with the R3 Pro LiDAR system. This mount is engineered with precision and durability in mind, ensuring stability and accurate LiDAR data capture during flight. Also included is a high-quality LEMO to XT60 Cable for seamless connectivity. Here are the Key Features: 1. Compatibility: The ROCK Universal Mount is specifically designed to work with any drone that can handle the LiDAR payload. There is also a kit specifically for the Freefly Astro drone, providing a seamless integration that ensures stability and accuracy during LiDAR mapping missions. 2. Versatility: This mount is adaptable to various drones, making it versatile for a range of mapping applications. Its universal design enables easy attachment and detachment, allowing you to use it with multiple drone models effortlessly. 3. Robust Construction: Crafted from high-quality materials, the ROCK Universal Mount is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor usage. It ensures your LiDAR equipment is securely mounted and protected throughout the mapping process. 4. Stability & Precision: With a focus on stability, this mount minimizes vibrations and movements during flight, resulting in highly precise LiDAR data collection. Achieve the level of accuracy you need for your mapping projects. Click here to learn more about the R3 Pro's accuracy. Pairing with Freefly Astro Drone The Freefly Astro drone is a fantastic platform for aerial data collection. Its exceptional stability, flight capabilities, and payload capacity make it an ideal match for the Universal Drone Mount and the R3 Pro LiDAR. Not to mention it is NDAA compliant. Together, they form a powerful tool for efficient and accurate LiDAR mapping. Click HERE to see the ROCK Universal Mount in action on the Freefly Astro drone! Elevate Your Mapping Experience Incorporate the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount for the R3 Pro LiDAR with the Freefly Astro drone into your mapping workflow and take your projects to new heights. Experience enhanced accuracy, efficiency, and reliability in LiDAR data collection, providing valuable insights for your business. Elevate the way you map, survey, and analyze with ROCK Robotic and Freefly Systems. Contact us today to learn more about the ROCK Robotic Universal Mount and how it can transform your LiDAR mapping business!

  • ROCK SLAM LiDAR with the R3 Pro: A Comprehensive Guide

    Discover the Future of LiDAR Mapping: ROCK SLAM! In this guide, we'll walk you through how-to operate the R3 Pro in SLAM mode and share some valuable tips on capturing high-quality data. Join us as we explore the setup process, best practices for data capture, and a sneak peek into the advanced features coming to the ROCK Cloud and ROCK Desktop processing software. Let's get started! Assembling the ROCK SLAM Kit To begin, assemble the SLAM kit by removing the camera from the R3 Pro and attaching it to the SLAM dock. Secure the camera by screwing it into place. Connect the limo cable to the SLAM dock, ensuring the red dot aligns with the device's marking. Connect the other end of the cable to the battery bank for power. Proper Data Capture Techniques To obtain high-quality SLAM data, follow these essential techniques: Keep the LiDAR sensor above your head to avoid casting laser beams towards your face and body. Move the sensor slowly and steadily during data capture to minimize motion blur. Perform 'Loop Closures' during data capture by doubling back on the same path or walking in loops. This corrects for any drift in the data set and improves accuracy. Capturing Data Power on the R3 Pro by clicking the button once, and wait for the solid green light to indicate readiness. To start capturing data, Click the button once, let go, and then hold it down for five seconds then release. The light should blink red and green. Once it turns solid green, the device will start quietly beeping notifying you that the device is capturing data. Tips for Data Capture When navigating stairs, angle the LiDAR sensor down while ascending and angle it backward while descending. This ensures perpendicular data capture on the stairs for superior results. When transitioning between rooms, ensure all doors are open and walk slowly to maintain data continuity. Capture data at the room's opening before moving into the next room. Uploading & Processing Data on ROCK Cloud After data capture is complete, repeat the single button steps to stop data capture. Remove the provided USB from the R3 Pro and proceed to upload the data directly to the ROCK Cloud for processing. Define the Coordinate Reference System (CRS) as "SLAM Meters" and upload the data folder. Click "Save" and order the SLAM processing, which is currently free and unlimited. Click here to view the ROCK SLAM example dataset on the ROCK Cloud! Upcoming Features & Enhancements The future holds exciting advancements for ROCK SLAM. Soon, users will have access to GCP alignment, allowing the integration of Ground Control Points (GCPs) for increased accuracy. A new SLAM dock version, the SLAM Dock 2.0, will boast a 360-camera for colorized SLAM and GPS capabilities, elevating data capture to new heights. Conclusion ROCK SLAM on the R3 Pro offers a powerful solution for capturing precise and detailed data. By following proper data capture techniques and utilizing upcoming enhancements, users can maximize the potential of this innovative technology. We encourage you to join the Rock Robotics community for support, discussions, and updates on all things SLAM and beyond. Stay tuned for more tutorials and exciting features on the horizon! Want to get in on the ROCK SLAM action? Just schedule a meeting with a ROCK Expert to get started!

  • The Rise of Drone-Based LiDAR: Pioneering Change with ROCK R3 Pro

    The realm of spatial data collection and processing has been undergoing a transformation in the past few years, steered by the game-changing developments in drone-based LiDAR technologies. At the center of this revolution, ROCK Robotic has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the industry, offering simple yet highly accurate LiDAR systems that are affordable. With our third-generation system, the ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, we have reached a new pinnacle in the realm of drone-based LiDAR technology, outpacing our earlier iterations - the ROCK R2A and ROCK R360. ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR: A Paradigm Shift in Drone-Based LiDAR ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, a cutting-edge solution, brings forth unparalleled capabilities: High precision: It captures data with accuracy down to a few centimeters, guaranteeing the quality of data. Simultaneous Photogrammetry: Alongside LiDAR data, it captures high-resolution photogrammetric data in a single flight, bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. Portability and Versatility: Its compact size and ability to be mounted on drones, vehicles, and handheld make it ideal for a variety of use cases. "Accuracy is not a luxury, but a requirement when capturing drone-based LiDAR. The precision of the data collected determines the effectiveness of the final output." — ROCK Robotic, About Best Practices for Capturing Drone-Based LiDAR In leveraging drone-based LiDAR, particularly with the ROCK R3 Pro, we have a few recommendations that can ensure optimal data capture: Prepare for the Mission: Ensure your LiDAR equipment, such as our ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, is properly calibrated and the flight path is well-planned. Accurate Data Processing: Use reliable LiDAR data processing software like our ROCK Cloud to convert raw LiDAR data into actionable insights. Support: Utilize the extensive resources available on our LiDAR support page to ensure smooth operation and to troubleshoot any issues. Drone-based LiDAR Market Opportunities Drone-based LiDAR is unlocking new opportunities across sectors, such as surveying, construction, forestry, and public safety. For instance, our ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR has successfully surveyed large and challenging terrains, ushering new possibilities for surveyors and engineers. Learn more about this in our blog post about surveying tricky terrain. The ongoing growth and advancements in drone-based LiDAR are poised to bring this technology into the mainstream, benefitting various sectors. If you are interested in being a part of this exciting journey, check out our jobs page. In summary, the rise of drone-based LiDAR, spearheaded by systems like ROCK R3 Pro LiDAR, is revolutionizing the way we capture and interpret spatial data. It's also opening up new market opportunities across industries. Stay updated with the latest in LiDAR technology by subscribing to our blog, and check out our store for all your LiDAR needs. For more information about our products and services, you can request a quote through our R3 PRO quote request page.

  • Four Crews? Four Weeks? Forget that! ROCK can help get the job done in one day.

    We received some amazing feedback from one of our ROCK Cloud users. He had nothing but great things to say about how helpful, accurate and quick our LiDAR processing software is. And here's why: • Manual Classification • Stockpile Calculations • TOPOs in a day. ONE DAY. Boom! Take a look at what else he had to say... "I have to say this scanner is incredible! My contours were perfect. They matched the surveyors ground points within hundredths. Even the gravel driveways. They had 4 crews working for 4 weeks and we did cam up with the data in 2 days. I’m going to like doing this…" — John Triska, 3D Data Prep Inc. Want to see what you can accomplish in a day? Take a look at this free dataset. Contact ROCK Robotic to learn how we can help. hello@rockrobotic.com

  • Easily calculate Volumetrics with the ROCK Cloud Stockpile Tool.

    Good news... we have added a new feature to the ROCK Cloud! Now, you can quickly draw a polygon around an object to calculate the "Cut & Fill" volumes. It's super fast, easy and works with any LiDAR data. Watch the video above to see how simple it is. Visit learn.rockrobotic.com for more information about the ROCK Cloud. "They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say the point cloud generated by the fantastic ROCK Robotic R2A sensor is priceless. Well, maybe not priceless since we are billing the client... but you get the idea. We have been flying this R2A sensor for a little over a month now and we have mapped a 1700 acre ranch, 400 acres of a water treatment plant, 20 miles of distribution lines and 4 miles of transmission for 2 new switch/substation sites. I can’t say enough about the guys at ROCK Robotic and the product they have put together, both the R2A sensor and the ROCK Cloud software." — Josh Burge PLS - sUAS Pilot Gorrondona & Associates, Inc. Not using the ROCK Cloud to process LiDAR data? What are you waiting for?! Sign up now for a 14-Day free trial of ROCK Cloud.

  • Turn your LiDAR data into stunning animations using the ROCK Cloud.

    It just keeps getting better! We absolutely love this new Drone LiDAR 3D Mapped dataset. Now you can easily export videos of your LiDAR scans using the ROCK Cloud. All you have to do upload your data, set the animation points and export to video. It's a great opportunity to show off your work to clients and the community. Follow this tutorial to learn how to export animations. "As a professional Drone Services provider, we have had a great experience working with Rock Robotic. They have a responsive, helpful support team that always goes above and beyond!" — Empower UAV & CODE 3 Drone Use the ROCK Cloud to process your LiDAR data. Start your free ROCK Cloud trial now!

  • Improving Accuracy of DJI Zenmuse L1 with ROCK Cloud 3D LiDAR Data Processing Software

    Drone LiDAR Accuracy Aerial Drone LiDAR has never been more accessible than now. A new generation of LiDAR hardware has hit the market and spans a large range of both price and quality. This puts even more pressure on the post-processing workflow to extract the good data from the bad. ROCK Robotic developed the ROCK Cloud software to answer this call for the growing community of 3D Point Cloud users. Boasting a large array of toolsets, the ROCK Cloud can also improve data by reducing the noise in entry level LiDAR systems. In this article we specifically discuss the new DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR, but the same processes apply to all LiDAR data in the ROCK Cloud. Read on to discover how the ROCK Cloud optimizes fuzzy datasets to improve your final deliverable accuracy. DJI Zenmuse L1 DJI released the Zenmuse L1 LiDAR system in 2021. The LiDAR system is compact, inexpensive, and is carried by the DJI M300 drone system. The L1 brings a new idea for form factor and simplicity for 3D point cloud data acquisition. However, the data produced by the L1 can oftentimes be very “fuzzy” measuring from 10 cm to even up to 50 cm. Several factors contribute to the final point cloud being this fuzzy, but the main culprit is the IMU. So what can be done? Let's discuss the ROCK Cloud, and what we put together to help improve the accuracy of the L1 system. ROCK Cloud The ROCK Cloud was developed by ROCK Robotic with a completely new take on LiDAR processing. The tool combines secure backed up storage, visualization, analysis, and sharing functionality into 1 cloud platform. With the ROCK Marketplace, users have an affordable way to quickly get survey grade deliverables from their raw LiDAR data. ROCK helps all LiDAR users get access to the best deliverables no matter your experience level. When a user uploads DJI L1 data and orders the ROCK Surveyor package, a series of processes are initiated. The end user will see their data and a final deliverable. But what they can't see is the magic that ROCK has put together to make those final deliverables so appealing. ROCK Surveyor & ROCK A.I. ROCK Surveyor is our 1-click deliverable engine to produce topographic surfaces. The deliverables include a classified LiDAR dataset, contours, topographic surfaces, and an accuracy report. The Surveyor engine is powered by ROCK A.I. and the ROCK QC/QA team. The internal process of ROCK uses to generate these deliverables is what sets apart a ROCK deliverable from any other software. This is also what enables the improved accuracy from DJI L1 data. How It Works First, the ROCK A.I. engine finds the bare earth points and removes all other obstructions. This includes trees, vegetation, cars, buildings, signs, etc. Once the ROCK A.I. finds the bare earth, the engine looks for the best representative points. These points fall in a Gaussian distribution about the fuzzy data. Now that it has stripped down the data and found the points that best represent the ground, a surface is generated with contours. These surfaces include TIN models and DEMs. This final deliverable allows the accuracy to be effectively assessed. What we find is the random noise of the original point cloud can be very high, often over 20cm! With the ROCK Cloud, this error can be significantly lower. The specific improvement rate varies from flight to flight, but we observe a systematically lower error rate on deliverables from ROCK surveyor when compared to the original noisy point cloud. ROCK Surveyor - Contours The Results Oftentimes, this will increase the accuracy of the RAW point cloud from 20+ cm down to 5 cm. In the example below (Fig. 1), there is a cross section of an airport runway captured with the DJI L1. The thickness of the fuzz is roughly 0.4 ft (12 cm). After running ROCK Surveyor on the dataset, we compared it to 178 GCPs that were captured across the site. The error with respect to the ROCK Cloud Surveyor deliverable is reduced to 0.193 ft (5.8 cm), a decrease in error of over 50%! Fig. 1 - DJI L1 - Cross Section Other Issues with the Zenmuse L1 The "fuzz" isn’t the only issue commonly found in these datasets from the L1 LiDAR system. In addition to the high frequency noise that affects each point and causes this fuzz, there is also a long-term measurement error that can occur throughout the dataset, causing undulations up and down across large regions. This noise is extremely difficult to remove. Users who experience this noise will see their ground control points above the surface in some locations and below the surface in other locations, and no amount of moving the dataset will remove this noise. As you can see, the ROCK Cloud makes a significant difference in the overall quality of DJI L1 datasets and their resulting deliverables. With a World-Class Support Team to help guide you through the ROCK Cloud and the ROCK Development Team that keeps improving your ability to manage your data, the ROCK Cloud is the obvious solution! To learn more about the undulations, check out this video. Visit www.rockrobotic.com to learn more about our products and services.

  • Capturing Aerial Drone LiDAR & Photogrammetry in a Single Flight (Earthworks Demo)

    It doesn't get much better than this: Photogrammetry and LiDAR in a single flight with ROCK Robotic! Now, with the ROCK R2A and ROCK Cloud, we've got you covered from points to orthos. In this article, we are showcasing a recent demo job that the ROCK Support Team helped deliver. The Backstory ROCK Robotic was called to provide a demo of the ROCK R2A LiDAR + Photogrammetry hardware combo, along with the ROCK Cloud data processing solution. The client wanted to compare the workflow to their existing Phantom 4 RTK + Propellor workflow. ROCK’s job was to provide an accurate 3D topographic surface to calculate cut / fill on a large earthworks project and a high-resolution orthomosaic to track the construction progress. This article will focus on the results from the R2A LiDAR + Photogrammetry solution, alongside the output deliverables from the ROCK Cloud. We will discuss and compare the results from the two separate workflows in an upcoming article. The Job The location was a 90 acre job site, with roughly 25 acres recently cleared and large earth moving underway. The remainder of the project area was still covered in dense vegetation. The job site posed no unusual risks or challenges — a fairly straightforward mission. The Flight The ROCK R2A was flown on the DJI M300 drone at an AGL of 200 ft, with a 50% side overlap and a camera interval of 2 seconds in order to capture both LiDAR 3D data and photogrammetry. The R2A is a precision LiDAR instrument with industry-leading high precision hardware. The LiDAR collects up to 720,000 points per second, with a 70 degree field of view. The max range is over 1400 ft — although our recommended flight height is between 200 and 400 ft. The system also comes with a co-aligned 24MP camera for both colorization and ortho photo acquisition. When flying the R2A for a dual-purpose LiDAR + photogrammetry mission, it is recommended to fly at 50% or higher overlap for accurate photogrammetric reconstruction. For LiDAR-only missions, an overlap of 30% is sufficient. The 90-acre site was flown with 1 battery set and completed in under 25 minutes. ROCK R2A LiDAR x DJI M300 Data Processing Once the flight was complete, a high-resolution point cloud (LAS) was generated using the ROCK Desktop pre-processing software (PCMaster) and uploaded to the ROCK Cloud for post-processing. The ROCK Cloud is a complete post-processing solution that delivers full 3D data results in a user-friendly and efficient interface. With the ROCK Cloud, you can quickly produce survey-grade surface models from raw point cloud data. Additionally, the ROCK Cloud is your hub for 3D data and now it includes orthomosaic data. The ROCK Cloud makes it simple to store, visualize, analyze, and share your data. Once the LiDAR data was uploaded to the ROCK Cloud, the data was reprojected into the local coordinate system and contours and a surface model were generated using the ROCK Surveyor deliverable. The deliverables beat the, “1-2 business day” estimated turnaround time and were complete in only 11 minutes! While the ROCK Cloud computed the surface deliverable, the orthophotos from the ROCK R2A were loaded into Pix4D to produce an orthomosaic. Once completed the ortho was uploaded to the ROCK Cloud and then the results were visible with the contours generated from the 3D LiDAR data. In addition to the visualization of the ortho, you can now order 2D Planimetrics on all ortho data. ROCK will soon be adding even many more features to further unlock the insights in your captured data. The Results The R2A LiDAR + Photogrammetry along with the ROCK Cloud produced an accurate surface model that was free of the defects typically found when photogrammetry data is used alone. A clean surface was generated that removed all unwanted surface features including trees, trucks, bushes and all other non-ground features. The data was delivered to the client the next day so they could continue the cut / fill process. Check out the video and data examples below to see how awesome this is! ROCK Cloud - Earthworks Demo - Map to LiDAR ROCK Cloud - Earthworks Demo - Data Examples Visit www.rockrobotic.com to learn more about our products and services.

  • Get 1.65 cm Accuracy Results with the ROCK R2A Drone LiDAR & ROCK Cloud 3D Data Processing Software

    ROCK Robotic's R2A LiDAR with the ROCK Cloud processing software can produce 1.65 cm accuracy! Bold statement, I know. So, let me break down this accuracy test flight and the procedures I used to achieve this stellar accuracy. Don't worry — you can do it too. And of course, all of the data is openly shared for you to review. 👍 The ROCK R2A combines the best of LiDAR with photogrammetry. A lightweight solution weighing only 1.2 kg and capturing up-to 720,000 point measurements per second. With a recommended flying height (150 ft. to 400 ft.) you can capture over 2,000 acres in a single days work. Attached to the R2A LiDAR is a co-aligned 24MP Sony camera. The camera is used to both colorize the LiDAR Point Cloud and produce detailed Orthomosaics. The R2A LiDAR and Photogrammetry system is a survey machine. When used together with the ROCK Cloud, a user can easily capture data and get a Survey Grade Topographic Surfaces, Contours, and Accuracy Reports generated in a single day. This isn't the only thing you can get ... use the ROCK Cloud for Break Lines, Stockpile Volumetrics, Planimetric Line Work, or a multitude of deliverables for Power Lines. The ROCK Cloud is packed full of 3D A.I. that combs through your datasets and delivers unparalleled 3D deliverables from your LiDAR data. Use the ROCK Cloud to store, share, analyze, and process 3D Data. Not to mention — Orthomosaic support! In this article, an accuracy test is conducted with the ROCK R2A and the ROCK Cloud to generate a topographic surface. The flight was conducted over an abandoned airport runway of approximately 48 acres. The airstrip was selected because of its hard and flat surface. Also, the surface is covered with highly reflective lane markings and runway numbering. The reflective lane markings were used to capturing a network of GCPs (Ground Control Points). I went a little overboard… capturing 178 control points on all the paint striping. 😳 Ground Control Points A network of 178 GCPs is captured using two Emlid Reach RS2 GNSS systems in an RTK base and rover configuration. The base station was placed over a known monument. The location was found from the NGS database. The data sheet (Fig. 1) for the monument is pictured below. This known coordinate was entered into the base station, then RTCM3 corrections were broadcasted via 3G using the Emlid Caster service. You can learn more about the service here. Once the base station was placed, the 178 GCPs were captured on several lane marking features on the runway. All GCPs were captured with RTK Fix and with 5 second observations per shot. This provides an average of 1-2 cm accuracy for each GCP. Fig 1. GCP Data Sheet Flight Overview The ROCK R2A LiDAR was mounted to the DJI M300 drone through the quick connect Skyport. Through the Skyport connection, the R2A LiDAR gets power to operate. UGcS mission planning software was used to create an automated flight plan that was flown at an above ground level (AGL) of 50 m (164 ft), a side overlap of 30%, and a flight speed of 6 m/s (13.4 mph). The mission was flown in one battery set from the M300 drone. This flight was very simple, and nothing special was done to conduct the flight. ROCK Cloud & The Data As the mission was flown, the ROCK R2A captured LiDAR and orthophotos. A colorized point cloud was generated using the ROCK Desktop software - PCMaster and PCPainter. The production of the point cloud is very simple and no post calibration or strip alignment is necessary. This process took approximately 30 minutes to complete. Now that we have the LAS file, we create a new project in the ROCK Cloud and upload our data. The ROCK Cloud offers a complete post processing workflow for LiDAR data as well as the ability to host, share, and analyze, and now orthomosaic support! After uploading and selecting the local state plane projection and vertical datum: AD83(2011) / California zone 3 (ftUS) and NAVD88 height (ftUS) ROCK Surveyor ROCK Surveyor is a complete topographic deliverable producing engine. In one click, your data is analyzed by the ROCK A.I. engine and ground classified LiDAR dataset with digital elevation, model surface, contours, and an Accuracy Report is produced. ROCK Surveyor uses a combination of ROCK A.I. and the ROCK QC / QA team to produce final deliverables — with no user intervention. It's very simple, just click order and allow the data to process. Accuracy Report Here is where the story gets good! The Accuracy Report. The Accuracy Report utilized 178 GCPs from the RTK measurements and does a vertical accuracy assessment from the GCPs to the surface generated from the ROCK R2A LiDAR and the ROCK Surveyor. The results: 57 points per square ft ( 613 pts/m^2 ), 48 acres, 0.054 ft ( 1.65 cm ) Vertical Accuracy RMS, 0.054 ft Standard Deviation, and a -0.001 ft Delta Deviation. The big number to pull is the Vertical Accuracy RMS of 0.054 ft or 1.65 cm. This is truly astounding🥹! This is why so many surveying professionals are turning to ROCK Robotic for their high accuracy needs. The remainder of this article will discuss more on the data quality. More notes of interest about the ROCK R2A and the ROCK Cloud: Strip Alignment Pictured below (Fig. 2), we can see the dataset is colored from orange to purple in stripes. This is how the ROCK R2A LiDAR was flown. The variety of colors represent the time when the data was captured, allowing us to see how well the overlap is aligned. This is a very important feature of any LiDAR system. If the system quality is too poor or the system is not calibrated, then you will see mis-alignment from color to color. In the photo, you can see a cross-section profile view of the dataset. In the cross section, it is noted that there is very good alignment from strip to strip. This is a huge feature of the R2A, giving strong confidence in the solution's quality. Next, let's talk about intensity quality. Intensity Quality Another notable finding is the intensity view resolution quality of the data. Intensity measures how much light was returned on each measurement from the ROCK R2A LiDAR. The R2A emits a pulse of laser light that each pulse travels to the subject and reflects back to the sensor. The round trip time is used to calculate the distance from the R2A and the subject. There is additional information included in the measurement. This information is the intensity, or how much light returned. This is very important feature, as it helps differentiate objects from one another. Intensity also helps with the calibration of RGB photos to the 3D point cloud in the factory calibration during the manufacturing (or if you drop your system and need to recalibrate.). Conclusion Here, we’ve demonstrated an Accuracy Test of the ROCK R2A LiDAR with photogrammetry payload over an airport runway. The data was processed using the ROCK Cloud to produce the ROCK Surveyor deliverable. A network of 178 ground control points were captured with a L1/L2 RTK base rover pair to provide a trusted comparison. The Vertical RMS was calculated to be 0.054 ft (1.65 cm) verifying that the R2A and ROCK Cloud really are all that and a bag of chips. Visit www.rockrobotic.com to learn more about our products and services.

  • Breaking Down 20 Common LiDAR and Surveying Terms

    If you’re just getting started using LiDAR to create 3D models and maps, there is a ton of terminology to learn. Here's a glossary of the most helpful LiDAR and surveying terms you need to know. Accuracy Report A report detailing the accuracy of any LiDAR points in relation to known coordinates. Bare Earth Model A model of the area you are surveying that removes buildings, trees and any other surface objects. Bare earth models are generated in digital elevation models (DEMs), one of the key deliverables in ROCK Surveyor. Breaklines Lines that are marked to indicate a sharp break in elevation. This can include a curb, wall, ridge or stream. These lines improve the accuracy of contours. (Related: What are breaklines?) Contour Lines Contour lines illustrate the difference in elevation at a set interval on a topographic map. Learn how to order contours through the ROCK Cloud here. Digital Elevation Model (DEM) A digital elevation model (DEM) is a visual depiction of the bare ground (bare earth) topographic surface of the Earth that removes trees, buildings or any other surface objects. Digital Surface Model (DSM) or Digital Terrain Model (DTM A digital surface model (DSM) or digital terrain model (DTM) captures the natural and built features on the Earth’s surface. Flightline (or Trajectory) A preprogrammed or manual drone flight and altitude path when capturing data. Ground Control Points (GCPs) Marked points on the ground with known coordinates. GCPs are normally marked with an aerial target. These points serve as baselines to align physical points to the digital data produced by your LiDAR system. Learn about GCP best practices here. LAS The industry-standard file format that is designed for storing LiDAR point cloud data. LiDAR software, like ROCK Cloud, allows you to view and interact with LAS files. LiDAR LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It is a remote sensing method of measuring ranges to the Earth using light in the form of a pulsed laser. Orthomosaic Mapping An orthomosaic map is an aerial map made from many stitched-together still images. This map looks similar to what you would see in Google Maps. Planimetrics / Line Work A planimetric map shows manmade and natural objects from an aerial view outlined with 2D or 3D features. This often includes parking lots, buildings, utilities, sidewalks, fences, roads, water features, vegetation and building footprints. To learn about planimetric maps in ROCK Cloud, click here. Point Cloud In LiDAR, a point cloud is a collection of individual points plotted in 3D space with X, Y and Z coordinates. Normally, point clouds are in LAS or LAZ file formats. Point Density A ROCK R360 or R2A unit mounted to a drone can capture a high number of points per square foot or square meter on the ground through the canopy of trees and plants. Capturing high-density data is incredibly difficult to capture using traditional surveying methods. Pulse Rate The number of laser pulses per second. For example, the ROCK R360 emits up to 640,000 pulses per second. Return Number The total number of point returns from any given pulse. RMSE Believe it or not, LiDAR data isn’t perfect (although ours is pretty darn close). RMSE stands for root mean square error, which is the margin of error for accuracy in a LiDAR dataset. The ROCK R360 system has a range accuracy of 0.5 cm. ROCK SLAM ROCK SLAM (Simultaneous Localization Mapping) upgrades your existing ROCK hardware to allow you to walk around indoors, underneath trees, or anywhere you won't get good GPS in order to capture point cloud data. Learn more about ROCK SLAM here. Topographic (Topo) Map A map that uses contour lines to show elevation on the Earth’s surface. Volumetrics Volumetric surveys indicate how much material is being moved from a construction site. Learn how to measure volumetrics and stockpile data in the ROCK Cloud here. Vegetation Management Using drone LiDAR data to help specify danger zones across a transmission or distribution network. For example, ROCK Cloud provides you with a report that identifies problem areas across a transmission line at your set interval. Now that you’re well-versed in the lingo, dive into the world of efficient and easy-to-use LiDAR hardware and software with ROCK Robotic. We are reimagining the way 3D data is captured and used. Visit rockrobotic.com to learn more about us.

  • 10 Reasons Why ROCK Cloud is the Best LiDAR Data Processing Software

    We're living in very exciting times! LiDAR data is growing in popularity with the advent of handheld SLAM systems. Notably, the Leica BLK2GO and inexpensive aerial units like the ROCK Robotic R2A and the DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDARs. But with this growth comes the challenge to take raw point clouds and derive meaningful deliverables. Results have been mixed and it’s hard to know what process to trust. I struggled for a long time to find a workflow that balanced ease of use, accessibility and accuracy. Until now. The ROCK Cloud LiDAR Processing Software Suite is rising to the occasion. Read on to learn how I use the ROCK Cloud and how it will become one of the most important tools you use to get your job done — confidently and efficiently. —————————— 1. Data Storage Operating a LiDAR business has its share of headaches — among the largest is managing your project storage. I would spend untold hours clicking through hard drives to locate a particular file I needed from an old job. With the ROCK Cloud, there is no more sifting through hard drives or server files looking for that one project you flew last year and need to revisit. You’ll easily locate all of your projects in one place which is a breeze to organize and search. One click displays your project data in the visualizer so you can get on with your work. No more worrying about losing your data when a hard drive crashes. No more monopolizing that one office machine that has the desktop license software. —————————— 2. Sharing Capabilities Want to show off your beautiful 3D data and deliverables to a client? In my experience, this has been one of the most frustrating aspects of delivering a project. It seemed that each client struggled to open the 3D data or was unable to get it to render with their standard working computers. This is now a thing of the past! The ROCK Cloud allows you to share deliverables and data with your customers directly in the Cloud. It even gives you the freedom to limit access to the project to certain people you designate or to anyone with a link. There is no limit to sharing with external users, all they need is a computer and an internet connection. —————————— 3. Custom Branding What a game-changer! In the spirit of making ROCK Cloud a true business solution, we built custom branding capabilities into all ROCK Cloud Business Plans. Custom branding puts your logo and business information on your data and deliverables so you can share your work directly with your customers and get the credit you deserve for a job well done. We also built the RockStars program, which allows you to share your business information and captured datasets with the ROCK Community. This can be a huge benefit because we direct all customers to this resource when they are looking for local service providers. —————————— 4. Compare and Merge Datasets Comparing or merging datasets is technically doable with desktop software, but it’s a huge pain. As the datasets get larger (say you have a few 10 GB scans), the process starts to take FOREVER. I once had a 2,000-acre project that had 9 flights of scans that I needed to merge. It took me 4 hours on my old desktop for each operation, ultimately taking nearly a week to process the whole 2,000 acres! There is no contest when you use the ROCK Cloud to merge your datasets. Bring in as many datasets as you need and visualize them in real-time. Make your adjustments and one click merges them into one big dataset! Or choose not to merge them and you can keep all your scans in a folder and use the compare view to measure changes over time between the datasets. This super helpful functionality makes your life a ton easier. —————————— 5. Manage Projections This can be a scary task for many LiDAR newcomers. Using the wrong projection in your project can make a bad impression on your client. And sometimes even if you are confident you have the right projection, some desktop software won’t display them correctly (you can ask me about geoid models later 🥴)! Projecting your data in the ROCK Cloud couldn’t be easier with a user-friendly interface that makes projection recommendations for your project based on the location of your data. The most popular projections and geoid models for vertical datums are built right into the ROCK Cloud. For advanced needs, you also have the ability to enter a combined scale factor for Grid to Ground conversions. You can double-check your projection by viewing your project on the map view where you can zoom out and see the boundaries of your selected projection. It’s really cool to note that the map will also be in your desired projection! This will really be handy when uploading your Orthomosaics to the ROCK Cloud (more on that later!). —————————— 6. Calculate Stockpile Volumetrics Volumetrics are some of the most important measurements used in mining and earthworks projects. Contractors moving large amounts of earth to grade a new construction site will often be paid by the amount of earth they move. Being able to accurately measure these Volumetrics will help determine how the project is priced and becomes a super simple process with the ROCK Cloud. Use the Stockpile Tool to click and draw a polygon around any object in your point cloud and calculate the volume and cut/fill. —————————— 7. Produce Linework & Planimetrics Planimetrics, sometimes referred to as linework, is the process of taking aerial imagery Orthomosaics or 3D point cloud data and drawing up all the vectors of the objects in that area. For example, you might be tasked with adding onto a shopping complex so you go out and capture the existing buildings, parking lot, parking spaces, manholes, trees, sidewalks, curbs, etc. The process to digitize all of this so you can bring it into CAD software for smooth integration of the old and new is time-consuming and tedious (not to mention expensive). Before, I could spend all night sitting behind a computer annotating hundreds of parking spaces. Now I use the ROCK Cloud, which takes the point cloud data, photogrammetric data and surveyed points and then draws in all the linework for me. Order Planimetrics from the LiDAR data and get 3D vectors! Or use the ROCK Cloud with your Orthomosaic photogrammetric data and order 2D Planimetrics! In short, get your nights back. —————————— 8. Generate Topographic Surfaces The most common deliverable ordered in the ROCK Cloud is ROCK Surveyor. It takes the data from your LiDAR point cloud and builds a topographic surface with contours. It also provides an accuracy report from your uploaded ground control points so you can deliver your data with confidence. A typical workflow has a surveyor going out and capturing the property boundaries while drone LiDAR is used to capture everything in between. Processing that data with the ROCK Surveyor provides the topographic deliverables for everything in between the boundaries. What’s more is the ability to add breaklines and advanced classifications when you make your ROCK Surveyor order. —————————— 9. Establish Ground Control Points & Accuracy Reports When you deliver a survey product, it’s critical to verify its accuracy. Effortlessly upload a CSV of ground control points to your project or add them one by one. Then use the Quick Alignment Tool to align your dataset. When you order the ROCK Surveyor deliverable, these GCPs are used to create an accuracy report that gives you an RMS of your dataset. You can also use this information to reduce the error by making X, Y, Z corrections to your dataset. Click a button to reprocess and reproduce an updated Accuracy Report! —————————— 10. Enjoy ROCK Solid Customer Support Supporting our customers is one of the pillars of ROCK and we take it very seriously. Have you ever been working on a project and something went wrong or have you just found yourself profoundly stuck? I’m betting so because I’ve been there, too! I would reach out for support and receive a reply… 3 weeks later! Being on the receiving end of those experiences is why we strive to provide the best support in the industry. The ROCK Cloud offers multiple tiers of support. We are proud of our ROCK Community page where you can post questions and receive answers from colleagues and have the ROCK Support Team chime in. ROCK Community Support is always free. Purchasing an R2A or ROCK Cloud Business plan subscription brings with it the benefit of Live Chat Support during business hours. I’m partial but I think this is absolutely the best. Chat from any ROCK Robotic webpage or chat directly from your ROCK Cloud project! Connect with the ROCK Support Team to ask your questions and get real-time, real human support! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! Chat in for help and the ROCK Support Team is always happy to point you in the right direction or work to find the answer that moves you forward. We also offer email support at support@rockrobotic.com anytime. Email with your questions and expect to hear back from a ROCK Support Team member with solutions! Visit our ROCK Solid Support page to learn more. Please, please chat in or email with requests and suggestions for features or improvements you want to see the ROCK Development Team tackle. We love to hear from you and your feedback goes directly into our development queue! —————————— One To Grow On: Orthomosaic Support ROCK Cloud isn’t only about that LiDAR data - you can also upload orthomosaics, view DEMs from the Rock Surveyor deliverable and see your contours and planimetrics overlaid on the ortho. One awesome feature here is that the visualization is in the correct projection! Yep, we built a whole GIS system in the cloud! This is just the beginning for Orthos and ROCK Cloud. Soon you will be able to draw on your ortho and order 2D Planimetrics from any ortho! And on the topic of Orthos, any geotagged photo you upload will be displayed right on your project. This is key to sharing your LiDAR data along with the high-resolution inspection photos of your job site. These are just two big features that we are developing. Leave a comment down below if you want us to also compute Orthomosaics from uploaded imagery in the ROCK Cloud! And we won’t stop there! In the coming weeks ROCK will be introducing the alignment of terrestrial LiDAR and SLAM LiDAR systems using ROCK A.I. You can count on ROCK to keep pushing the envelope on helping you get the most out of your LiDAR data. Visit www.rockrobotic.com to learn more about us.

  • How-To Improve DJI Zenmuse L1 Accuracy w/ Strip Alignment in ROCK Cloud LiDAR Processing Software

    Let's face it ... despite its known issues regarding accuracy, the DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR is here to stay. If you are a L1 user struggling with these issues, then ROCK is here for you! Introducing ROCK Strip Alignment — offered exclusively through the ROCK Cloud to help improve the accuracy of your L1 LiDAR data. What is Strip Alignment and why should I care? Strip Alignment corrects errors in the trajectory used to produce a 3D point cloud from an airborne LiDAR mapping system. These errors are a fundamental characteristic of the 6-DOF (degrees of freedom) measurement system. That is, the position (lat, long, height) and attitude (pitch, yaw, roll) that are measured by the IMU and GNSS and then integrated together to form a trajectory through space via a PPK workflow (DJI Terra). The IMU accuracy is the largest source of error in the accuracy of the trajectory and largely affects the yaw, pitch and roll. Known issues in the height measurements can be a source of error as well. Each of these characteristics play a role in your final deliverable accuracy. You’ll often find these visible errors when you do multiple passes with the airborne LiDAR scanner and overlap from one flight line to the next. You will see that the two point clouds will not match up perfectly. In Figure 1 you can see that the green and orange point clouds do not overlap, instead forming two layers, one atop the other. We use ROCK Strip Alignment to improve this undesirable presentation by aligning your dataset in the ROCK Cloud. What is ROCK Strip Alignment? ROCK Strip Alignment takes your uploaded .LAS file, along with the trajectory (produced by DJI Terra) and analyzes the point cloud to produce a new optimized (Strip Aligned) point cloud. The process is 100% automated and results in a more accurate and visibly appealing point cloud. Results can vary among point clouds due to the nature of the error source we are correcting. The error from the IMU is not constant and has both low frequency temporal errors alongside high frequency temporal errors. Below is the same area that is shown above (Fig. 1) after ROCK Strip Alignment has been applied — it's clear to see the proof of improvement. How do I use ROCK Strip Alignment? It's super easy! The ROCK Strip Alignment is built into the ROCK Surveyor deliverable and is automatically used for all DJI L1 LiDAR datasets. Just upload the trajectory SBET output produced by DJI Terra and then let ROCK Cloud handle the rest. Read this ROCK Academy article for more information and examples of our DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR Strip Alignment. ROCK Strip Alignment is not the only tool that is deployed to improve your DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR dataset when you order ROCK Surveyor. Learn more about other ways we improve your DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR data when you order the ROCK Surveyor in the ROCK Cloud in this ROCK Blog Post. Conclusion At ROCK Robotic we are committed to improving all LiDAR data and providing our own high accuracy LiDAR remote sensing hardware. We take a strong stance in working with the LiDAR Community and general public to provide information that helps people be successful with this technology. As always, reach out to us anytime — we look forward to helping you! Visit www.rockrobotic.com to learn more about our products and services.

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