Mapping Underground Assets

The vivax metrotech system for mapping underground assets like pipework and cable runs with a relatively high accuracy.

The equipment that has inspired this idea is the VIVAX METROTECH vSCAN range which can be viewed here. https://www.vivax-metrotech.com/

Like many utility detectors, It locates wires and buried metalic objects but what is so great about the direction of this product range is that it can combine with locating a sewer Inspection camera head which brings the ability to reality capture, with photogrammetry, inside of pipework or cable runs. Not the best result as it is only in one direction but there is nothing stopping this being developed into fore and aft cameras.

To do this, you send the vCamMX camera up the pipe or chamber  which records all the image data while someone walks above the ground with the vLocCam2 Locator. This will provide the depth relative to the locator which records it geolocation.

It is also handy to be able to Geolocate all detected power lines and utility services like CATV, telephone and pipework over 50mm. I think thats a safe bet as the diameter of the smaller head is 18mm so might be able to be used in smaller bores to confirm the laying of a water pipe for instance but the manufacturer states 50mm.

There really is not much to say about this process as it is just amalgamating a current CCTV of sewers process with an upgraded utility detector with GPS but it is more the tool that makes it easy to process the data in an automated fashion.

Having said that, with the potential to 3D model the video, it can also aid non destructive computer based testing and defect detection of underground utility services.

The geolocation aspect of this also provides a way to satisfy much of the financial risk of PAS256 and the geographic linking between non-infrastructure assets.

 

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Indoor Drone Flying

Indoor Drone Flying has its disadvantages regarding autonomous flight but has many benefits including

  • No CAA Licence required – The CAA is only interested in external airspace and has updated its ANO (Air Navigation Order) to reflect this – in short, if it cant escape into an external airspace then it now falls under Health and Safety and not the Airspace legislator. This also goes further to include netted structures. Having said that, your Health and Safety may want you to have a licence as a competency requirement much like a driving licence but this could also be an in-house course. https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Recreational-drones/Recreational-drone-flights/
  • Small drones can reach places for inspection where it may be impractical to send a person i.e. confined spaces or into tall buildings to alleviate the working at height risks or cover search areas with thermal imaging to look for people or faults.

So I am liking this concept and sure enough there is a solution on the market – Enter the ELIOS 2 from Flyability. At this point I will say that I am not on commission and have only seen one of these on display by COPTRZ at the GeoBusiness day.

Image of ELIOS 2 Indoor Drone
An Image of ELIOS 2 indoor Drone (photographed from the COPTRZ brochure)

So this drone is in the realms of £25k but it boasts the following:-

  • Collision resilient cage (Carbon Fibre 40cm Diameter)
  • GPS free Stabilization
  • Distance Lock from object if monitoring one object – i.e. an automated process or inspecting structures – I am thinking visual inspections of aircraft skin joints in a hangar would be one great application with the oblique lighting. Thermal imaging of composits in-situ (an authorised work process would be required of course) etc
  • 4k Camera
  • Thermal Camera (FLIR)
  • 180 degree tilting camera pod
  • Adjustable and Oblique Lighting upto 10k lumens. This is also Dustproof.
  • FPV without line of sight
  • Flight and Reporting is performed via the Cockpit 2 software
  • 1 day of training to get the most out of it.
  • Transport case
  • Remote Control (2.4GHz) and Samsung Tablet
  • IATA approved for carry on Luggage

 

All that with a 10 minutes flight time but with a 1 min battery change time, you could inspect whatever you wanted and send the video or images to the relevent qualified person to study.

One minute a 737 Bulkhead inspection, the next an A380 paint inspection after a storm – One person on location and the expensive engineers at home base for the time duration required – no more or less. Maybe even some post maintenance inspections can be performed remotely this way reducing senior engineers physically onsite.

What does this mean – No more flying teams of engineers with every tool for every eventuality or erecting scaffolding to inspect/appraise faults. You just need a drone operator and a remote engineer.

Imagine the time resource this will free from travel as well as the carbon footprint. This is Proactive Workforce management but of course Regulations and best practices apply and as always I am trying to start a conversation with ideas for you to debate not go ahead and act based on what you have read. Please see site usage terms and conditions for more information.

For more information or Demo please visit the flyability or COPTRZ websites.

If you do, please let them know you saw it here and they may let me review one.

 

Screen Record with VLC Media Player

Screen Record with VLC Media Player video is now live and can be viewed on you tube or below.

This is an awesome feature of VLC media player as it gives the ability to record your desktop and everything that is displayed on it – nudge nudge wink wink – without having to go to great expense of proprietary software or the restrictions of Windows 10 Game Bar.

Please watch the video and leave comments if this was useful to you and you want to see more like this. Don’t forget share PLEASE.

 

 

Rotating Videos With VLC Media Player

When you are out and about and just want to capture that moment, you are not thinking about which orientation you need to record in so often you start in portrait (vertical) mode and rotate the phone for a better shot later. Unfortunately this looks great on the phone as the screen rotates automatically but often the video is locked in the original orientation that you started recording in and when played back you find that the video is now playing at 90 degrees on the screen as below.

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This is easy to correct with VLC media Player, for free without watermarks, as detailed in this video but I have also detailed the steps below the video.

First of all you need VLC media Player which can be downloaded here https://www.videolan.org/vlc/

Once Installed, Open it up and select MEDIA -> OPEN FILE

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Select Your File and Click OPEN

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Now the Video should auto play and let it play till you get to the part where it needs rotating. I will say at this point that it converts the whole video file so I suggest you save a copy and trim only the parts you need rotating in a video editing suite. If you have Windows 10, you have the Video Editor tool located in the menu under V. You can easily cut up a video and stitch it back later with this free tool. Alternatively there are other free tools out there.

Ok so we have a point where the video has rotated. Pause the video here and In the top Menu bar, select  TOOLS -> EFFECTS AND FILTERS

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This Will display a pop up box as below. Select the Following Tabs

VIDEO EFFECTS -> GEOMETRY

videorotate5

You will now want to select the TRANSFORM check box and select how you want to rotate it from the drop down menu. See image below. You will note that the video rotates in the background to confirm you have the correct Transform applied. I have selected 270 degrees which is the same as -90 degrees.

videorotate6.png

Once you are happy, Click on Close.

Ok, we now have a rotated video but we need to export it ( Save into a new independent  file) so lets go to the Top Menu Bar and select

MEDIA -> CONVERT/SAVE

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This will produce a pop up box. Click the ADD button

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This will open the file explorer so select your file and click OPEN

 

This will return you to the Open Media Pop up so now at the bottom, click on the drop down menu (arrow) next to Convert / Save and select CONVERT.

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Select the Profile (output format), I always leave as MP4 as this is widely used. Now in the Destination Section, Select the BROWSE button.

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You now need to select the output folder (this is where your video will be found after conversion). I tend to put it in the same folder and filename but add what has happened to the file name. In this case rotated 270 degrees. Click the SAVE button.

videorotate12

Nearly there, You will be returned to the CONVERT pop up and now you simply click the START button.

videorotate13

You will now see a blank screen, as below, with the blue bar increasing from left to right to show progress.

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Once complete, The screen will go back to the opening/launch blank screen.

You should now have a converted file in the file location specified but play it back in another media player or close VLC and re-open. If you try and play the video straight away, you may find it at the wrong orientation because you still have the Effects Transform set to rotate it. You could also go back to EFFECTS and Set the Transform to none or 0 degrees rotation.

If you liked this and found it helpful then please like, share and comment. Please also use the contact form with any suggestions of topics you want us to investigate.

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NAVVIS M6 MOBILE REALITY CAPTURE

The Terestrial Scanning scene has been dominated by static Laserscanners or heavy post processing of photogrammetric data. Now there is another way:-

The all-in-one indoor reality capture mobile mapping system – NavVis M6

Once set up, all you have to do is push it along and let it scan continuously. Now you no longer have to plan your static scan positions for line of sight, just push it round all objects and the job is done. No more worrying if you had the line of site on that object.

It claims and is foreseeable to be able to:-

  • Scan up to 30x faster than with stationary scanners and devices
  • Capture up to 30,000 square meters per day
  • Adapt to complex indoor environments while continuously scanning

These are bold claims but it just looks so easy.

I do see an issue, being devils advocate, is crossing voids and industrial process floorings. It sure will be able to traverse workshops, warehouses, Hangars and offices but when it comes to Stairs and crossing voids, I am sure some kind of work-around will need to be envisaged. Otherwise it really looks like a game changer for Reality Capture.

Their Brochure is below but for further Information please visit their website www.navvis.com/m6

VISUALISATION WITH PANOPTIKON

PANOPTIKON – It is Swedish,  and as far as I can remember the translation means ‘to observe’ but comes from the Greek ‘all-seeing’ and in English refers to ‘a Prison with cells arranged around a central point so they can be seen at all times’ – Very Colonial, I prefer the Swedish as it is simply clear and just looks cool which is much the story with the PANOPTIKON visualisation software.

I saw these guys at the GeoBusiness 2019 and was blown away by the potential this has to engage with communities in an open and clear method across any language barrier. In short, it is a really good Video/Augmented Reality Communication/engagement tool for BIM.

We have all seen videos of proposed construction sites ‘this is what it will look like if we have the OK’ in dry architectural drawings but this incorporates all BIM model data so it releases all the power of the digital age to show a vision of exactly how it is to how it will be built exactly.

It Does this buy combining Drone footage with BIM Data and combining the two. The following 2 screen shots are from their video but it shows the effect. You can view the video on their website www.bjorkstromrobotics.com

The next applications I see are in farming and infrastructure development to aid positive engagement of communities to develop their land.

Imagine a community or utility has a sudden issue with over development i.e. too much home building (postage stamp houses) and blocks development, maybe there is no parking spaces or playgrounds. You need to address their concerns and convince them that there is a plan to resolve the issue.

This is the communication tool to do just that.

They also have another really useful tool for a tablet which shows where all the utility services run and will visualise in real space (on the tablet) everything that is proposed with accurate GNSS derived positioning.

So now if we combine the 2 products, we are looking at the ability to show a video demonstration of the project life cycle, at the build location, and then after the video you can engage with the audience in live augmented reality to answer any of their questions – maybe discover new ones but it is a full engagement system. They can even walk around with the tablet to see what the new area will look like and get a feel for it. I am hopeful that they will develop for full Mixed Reality soon but they seem keen to develop the product to fulfill their partners need – and I like that Partner attitude, not just customer, customer just sounds disposable to me.

The other use, I see, is in forensics, Health and safety or engineering to reconstruct events on site whether it be an accident and you need to investigate view points on site or an augmented reconstruction, or maybe you just want to maximise your aircraft parking in your hangar.

OK so I am not on commission so I will now refer you to their website for further information and videos www.bjorkstromrobotics.com/

I will however say that it was an insightful discussion I had on the day and they seem like a very helpful and positive group to deal with.

UGEE M708 GRAPHICS TABLET

I always wanted an all singing and dancing Wacom Graphics tablet for my 3D modelling but the thought of paying similar to a new laptop got me thinking about the Lenovo Yoga series of laptop, with the foldable screen hinge, as you can see and interact directly with your model or digital art.

I wanted to also make sure it was what I wanted so thought ‘Go Cheap import to test before investing huge wedge’ and found this UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet for £60 2 years back and it is still going well. I have the older battery powered pen version but the one from amazon below has a self recharging pen which is cool, having said that the battery normally lasts me 2 months which is ok for a single AAA battery. I will also mention there are others like XP PEN which are cheaper still and look the same but that’s all I can say.

Click Here to See the UGEE M708 on Amazon

Ok so after wanting one of these for ages, I now have it. Its A4 ish paper size so quite large so I should be good to go. I mean, I can use Blender and 3DS with a mouse, right, and this was supposed to be more natural. That’s the problem, I have no natural art skill so thats my first thing to say – you can have all the tools but don’t expect to be pulling a Van Gogh in 5 minutes. Now I am glad I only spent £60 and not £400 on its equivalent Wacom.

Ok so I never give up and slowly started to see what I can do with simple spray can art which was great and I managed to make some beautiful coloured boxes in Blender. Without knowing I slowly started replacing my mouse with the pad and pen, for normal computer use, as you can do all 2 button mouse operations with it while not having the Mouse click RSI as it effectively makes a normal computer gain the benefit of a Tablet at a fraction of the cost.

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The Tablet itself is easy to use as the pad corners (white Brackets) are mapped to your screen so there is no dragging and scrolling like on the old tablets you just hover the pen over where you want the cursor to appear on the screen and when it is close enough to the tablet, about 15mm, sure enough the cursor appears on the screen. Sure it would be great to have one of the £700+ tablets with a screen underneath but then we go back to my original buying a Lenovo Yoga. Amazon also have them Lenovo Yoga 720

The Following Video shows how easy it is to use with Blender in Plug and Play. I am only using the Pen here but there are 6 more configurable buttons that can be tailored as you desire but you will have to load the Driver Disk (supplied) to configure them. You can also download the driver from the UGEE website if you do not have a Disk Drive.

As you can see it is very easy to use and all of this via USB plug and play. Talking of which, the pen is compatible with windows 10 ink so is customisable in Windows 10 too.

In short it is a cheap and cheerful tablet that can give you an extra few years out of your old PC when you want to expand your skills into 3D modelling / Paint / Photo Editing / Drawing / Handwriting or even just want to add some signature functions.

Ok the nitty gritty:

  • Active Area – 10″ x 6″
  • Resolution – 5080 LPI
  • Report Rate – 230 RPS
  • Accuracy – +or- 0.01″
  • Pressure sensitivity – 2048 Levels
  • Connection – USB