Area Targets from NavVis Scans

With the NavVis portfolio of mobile mapping solutions, it’s possible to scan large spaces rapidly and with precision. The NavVis M6 and NavVis VLX systems generate a point-cloud and 360-degree imagery in one working step. This data baseline allows for augmented content to be precisely positioned within the virtual environment. This guide shows how to scan the space for an Area Target and design your augmentations to support indoor navigation, spatial instructions, museum-guides, games and other applications.

Supported Devices

  • NavVis M6
  • NavVis VLX

NavVis scanning workflow

A scan using a NavVis device can either be conducted by your own team after being trained on the devices or by a professional NavVis service-provider. To learn more about NavVis mobile mapping devices, training, and scanning services, contact NavVis specialists at

To capture accurate data that is optimized for Vuforia Area Targets, the general workflow is as follows:

  1. Prepare the environment for scanning.
  2. Set up your NavVis VLX or NavVis M6 mobile mapping device.
    1. In case you want to acquire your own NavVis mapping device or contract scanning services, please contact NavVis specialists at
    2. If you already have a NavVis mapping device, refer to the product’s User Guide to learn how to set up your device.
  3. Scan the environment.
    1. For general mapping guidelines, consult the product’s User Guide or check out NavVis’s documentation to learn more
    2. Set the automatic panorama capture trigger with a predefined length of up to 3m in open spaces. Use the manual trigger when the environment is complex.
  4. Process your captured data in NavVis IVION, in cloud installations with the Cloud Processing Add-on and download the full E57 point cloud with the included panoramas.
    NOTE: To retrieve the panorama images in the exported E57 file, you must enable the option Include panoramas in .e57 point cloud before starting the raw data processing. Refer to the documentation detailed in NavVis IVION Setup.
    1. When processing your scan data, we recommend using a point-cloud density of 1 cm (0.4 inches).
    2. Crop & Download does not embed the required data for generating the Area Target. Instead, use the Area Target Generator to crop your scanned space.

      Please note that the NavVis-2-E57 conversion tool distributed by Vuforia is marked deprecated as you are encouraged to switch to Cloud Processing and export E57 data from there. The conversion tool will be removed in a future Vuforia Engine release.

  5. Import the E57 point cloud into the Area Target Generator.
  6. Create the Area Target.

Getting Started with NavVis

  • Decide which NavVis device you will use based on your scanning environment  and use case
    • NavVis VLX is a wearable device that enables high-quality reality capture in complex buildings such as construction sites, staircases, and technical rooms.
    • NavVis M6 is a mobile mapping device on wheels that enables fast scanning with minimal disruption in commercial and industrial environments.

Preparing the Environment

In combination with the general Best Practices for Scanning an Environment, there are few things to be aware of when optimizing your environment for Area Targets.

  • Make sure there are no people in the environment to be mapped.
  • Make sure you have opened all doors using door stoppers.
  • Check with your on-site contact that all confidential material is hidden.
  • Make sure you have your mapping routes marked on a floor plan and access to all rooms.
  • Ensure the area is brightly lit. If you capture areas outdoors, scan on a cloudy day to avoid direct sunlight.
  • When scanning with NavVis M6, make sure to provide enough space for the device to pass through doorways and narrow spaces.
  • When scanning with NavVis VLX, consider the additional height requirements when passing through doorways or scanning in areas with low hanging components, such as light fixtures, etc

Retrieving and Importing the Scan

In the NavVis IVION platform apply the following process settings:

  1. Before processing, enable the option Include panoramas in .e57 point cloud.
  2. Process the scan and export the resulting E57 file.
  3. Open the Area Target Generator and select the E57 Data option to import the point cloud.

To continue, see or return to the How to Create Area Targets for completing the Area Target from an E57 data file.

See Area Targets in Unity for a guide on authoring Area Targets.

(Deprecated) Retrieving and Converting the Scan 

Post-processing raw scan data can be done in either NavVis SiteMaker (Desktop Processing Software) or with the Cloud Processing Add-on for NavVis IVION. Either way, it is important that you specify that you will need the datasets_proc folder for the Area Target creation, in addition to the normally generated output bundle datasets_web used by NavVis IVION.

E57 Data Conversion Tool 

Before the Area Target Generator can import the point cloud from a NavVis scan, the data needs to undergo a conversion with a simple command tool executable.

Get the NavVis-2-E57 tool from Vuforia Tools Download page.

  1. Use the command line tool to convert the NavVis scan to the E57 data format that the Area Target Generator supports.
  2. The tool takes following arguments:
    1. <datasets_proc_folder> - the NavVis processing folder containing the processed dataset metadata (dataset.json).
    2. <e57_output_file> - the file the generated Vuforia E57 will be stored in.

Example usage:

convertNavVis2VuforiaE57.exe <path>\datasets_proc\2021-01-18_12.34.30 <path>\output.e57

Where the <path> is the specified folder locations on your local hard drive for the datasets_folder and the output folder.

To continue, see or return to the How to Create Area Targets for completing the Area Target from an E57 data file.

See then Area Targets in Unity for a guide on authoring Area Targets.

Can this page be better?
Share your feedback via our issue tracker