Area Targets from Leica Scans

Leica offers compact imaging laser scanners that accurately capture spaces as point clouds and panoramic images, ideal for Area Targets. With the LiDAR technology and speedy capture you can cover huge areas that are then imported and processed in the Cyclone REGISTER 360 software tool. It is a timely opportunity to extend your business by offering users and clients information rich and interactive augmented reality.

Supported Devices

  • Leica RTC360
  • Leica BLK360

Leica Scanning Workflow

Operating the Leica scanners are likely performed by professionals trained in the setup, scanning process, and post-production. We therefore encourage you to either find a partner to help scan your space or consult with Leica Geosystems for device purchases and training opportunities. In case you already have a Leica scanner in possession, we believe you have already familiarized and trained yourself in handling the device.

The general workflow for scanning with Leica scanners:

  1. Ready the Leica scanner by charging batteries and the iOS or Android device with the Cyclone FIELD 360 application installed.
  2. Prepare the environment for scanning.
  3. Scan the environment following our general guidelines scanning practice guide.
  4. Import the scans into Cyclone REGISTER 360.
  5. Configure the imported bundle as needed, finalize it, and export it as a E57 file.

NOTE: The Leica BLK360 scanner is supported by the Matterport™ pipeline as well. This guide describes how to prepare and export Leica scans into E57 files using the Cyclone REGISTER 360 software.  Continue on the Area Targets with Matterport™ page to use the BLK360 scanner in combination with the Matterport™ service.

Getting Started with Leica Scanners

Prerequisites for scanning with Leica scanners

Following settings shall be set in the REGISTER 360 software prior to starting processing and exporting data for Area Targets:

  1. On the General tab of the Settings, set the length unit to meter:
  2. At the bottom of the same tab, check both options to export cleaned points and to include panoramas.

Assistance to purchase scanners, license software, and register to the Cyclone Cloud is available at the support site of Leica Geosystems.

Scanning an Environment

For scanning and device operation follow the extensive guides and video tutorials on the product pages for the Leica BLK360 and the Leica RTC360 scanners.

Following settings can be set in the Field 360 app or the control panel of the RTC360:

  • Enable HDR image capturing.
  • Set the point cloud density to low for Area Targets only scans.

A few things to be aware of:

  • Scan in doorways and move only the scanner to a position visible from the previous scan.
  • Highly reflective, absorbent or transparent materials can be often difficult to capture.
  • Generation of Area Targets from outdoor scans is not recommended due to dramatic changes in lighting.
  • Annotations and Markings are not preserved via the Area Targets toolchain.

Transferring and Post-processing the Scan

When a scan is finished, transfer the scan to your desktop for processing the data; transfer the raw data via USB-stick or Wi-Fi, or by connecting to the FIELD 360 app from your desktop. For the detailed steps on importing and post-processing scans, follow the manuals and video tutorials as provided on the Cyclone REGISTER 360 product page.

  1. In Cyclone REGISTER 360, start a new project and import the scan data folder (Don’t forget to add the project.rtc360 file next to the root of the raw scan folder!).
  2. Adjust the import properties of the data in the Properties tab found on the right, check the Auto Cloud.
    • Data from RTC360 can be imported using the Pre-Registered option if the VPS system was used as recommended during scanning. When using scanning targets, enable the corresponding option for auto-alignment.
  3. Import the bundle by pressing the big red button in the lower right. Upon import, the tool responds with feedback on the number of imported set-ups and created links:
  4. Review and Optimize the registration and links between scans.

    Select one of the suggestions indicated by a dashed line between two setups and select Add all visible suggested links.

    1. HDR tone-mapping might be necessary to correct the exposure of the panorama images. Right click the Bundle in the SiteMap, select Edit HDR Image and change the tone map to Linear. Set the Gamma close to 0.4545 and adjust Brightness and Gain dB.
    2. Select Apply to Project and press OK.
    3. To improve the accuracy of the overall scan, we recommend increasing the number of links between individual scans by choosing Show Suggested Links Within Bundle in the context menu of the Bundle:

Select one of the suggestions indicated by a dashed line between two setups and select Add all visible suggested links.

Depending on the complexity of your space, you can repeat this process until enough links are added between setups.

  1. Optionally, you can limit the exported data by defining a LimitBox or by using the crop tools when in the Bundle Cloud view mode.

  1. Once the optimization has finished successfully, finalize the scan by accepting the registration report.
  2. In the Report tab, select Publish options and check E57 (as one file) as the output format. Hit Publish to generate the output E57 file.

Creating Area Targets from your Leica Scan

At this stage, the scan is ready for import into the Area Target Generator desktop application. See the installation guide of the ATG here.

Follow the How to Create Area Targets to import and create Area Targets from E57 files.

Finally, import the Area Target database into the Unity Editor for authoring or in your native development environment. See Using Area Targets in Unity and Area Target API Overview on getting started.