Stand out feature: ‘Amazing data quality’!

After a day on site with the Trimble X12 3D Laser Scanner -  we catch up with Paul Williams, Director of Survey Dimensio

After a day on site with the Trimble X12 3D Laser Scanner –  we catch up with Paul Williams, Director of Survey Dimensions

The X12 is Trimble’s highest end scanner and marketed as a ‘best of both worlds’ combination of Z+F technology and a tried and tested Trimble workflow that uses its Perspective software.  But does the reality deliver in the field? Customer feedback is vital to both us and Trimble so we were delighted to let Paul Williams, Director of Survey Dimensions, put the X12 through its paces and share his down to earth appraisal.

Paul’s Trimble X12 top 4

Crispness of the data – ‘the data quality is amazingly good’

Perspective workflow – ‘we were up and running immediately, it’s the same interface as the X7 and very easy to pick up’

Ability to scan at very short range and to challenging surfaces – ‘the X12 is very versatile’

It has a handle – ‘this is vital when carrying high value equipment up and down ladders etc’

First thoughts

As a Trimble X7 user, Paul was pleased to see that the X12 was also a manageable weight at 7.7kg (including the batteries). In particular, he noted that it would be easy to carry it up and down ladders and position into tight areas thanks to the handle – something that he was quick to point out that not all scanners have but is vital when you’re manoeuvring a high value piece of equipment around your site. Aside from its portability, his expectations were especially high concerning the quality of the data, the speed of the scans and also how versatile it would be on the trial job he had selected that required both short range and medium range scans in a variety of different scenarios.

Former convent school project

The project that Paul trialled the X12 on is a former Convent School, now owned by Falmouth University, with a spec that required exterior and interior surveys for remediation work and planning. Paul’s X7 was also taken along for the ride and all work was undertaken by a two-man team in a single day. Both scanners were used to complete a total of over 300 scans on the day.

With the X12, Paul was up and running immediately because he was already familiar with the Trimble Perspective workflow from his X7. From his earlier X7 experience, he also knew that the Perspective software was extremely intuitive, even for someone using it for the first time.  X12/Perspective features such as ‘Window Scan’ for focusing on areas where greater detail would be required, and the on-site registration to ensure that everything was captured before leaving the site were both rated as good time savers.

During the day, the X12 was used on and off a tripod and also at very short range to scan inside a small dark cupboard. Where more detail was required, for example when scanning architraves and decorative ceiling mouldings, the highest definition was used.

Paul’s feedback

Whilst Paul appreciates that the range of the X12 is over 300m, for this project he was working mainly at a range of 40m and lower. He also carried out a couple of comparisons with the X7 and noted that the quality of the data from the X12 is amazingly good; when sliced from the side, the X12 data had zero deviation on a 3mm thick slice compared to a light fuzziness with the X7. He also reports that the overall quality of the X12 scan data is second to none, especially inside on the ceilings and outside when looking at the brick detail. Around the site, Paul found that there were no surfaces too challenging for the X12 and scan quality was consistently excellent even when scanning at short range into darkness.

Paul noted that the colour imagery was easy to add, parallax free and excellent quality. The X12 also performed far faster than the X7 when scanning at higher definition (6mm point spacing). For example, a one minute 30 second scan with the X12 was far, far denser than a 5 minute scan with the X7. However, this makes perfect sense considering the different applications the scanners have been developed for.

Overall, Paul feels that the standout feature of the X12 is the ‘amazingly good’ crispness of data and rated the following four points as the X12’s stand out benefits: