Geo Week News

April 23, 2012

How to get to the Hexagon show on the cheap


As laser scanning user meetings go, Leica Geosystems has more history than anyone – heck, my introduction to the industry mostly involved a trip to San Ramon, Calif., to talk laser scanners over a bunch of games of bocci. Now that the Hexagon umbrella has been layered over it, the event is truly a spectacle, merging Intergraph, Erdas, Sisgraph, Z/I Imaging and Hexagon Metrology into one uber-conference with an over-arching look at the way that real-world data is captured and then used to make better decisions in industries like manufacturing, plant and process, power, marine, security, and infrastructure. 

And, of course, more people means a bigger party. If you missed the trip to Universal Studios in Orlando last year, I’m sincerely bummed on your behalf. That Harry Potter ride…

This year, the traveling caravan moves to Las Vegas and the MGM Grand, and while you might have designs on hitting the tables while you’re out there, you may want to make sure you bring plenty of trucker speed because the track geared toward HD surveying and 3D laser scanning is a monster. With 44 breakout sessions and 15 hands-on demonstrations, it’s going to be hard for you to hit even a portion of the content and work on your blackjack game at the same time. 

However, because we here at SPAR want you to have a few more bucks in your pocket so you can keep the good folks of Vegas gainfully employed, we’ve teamed with Leica Geosystems to launch a way for you to get into the Hexagon conference for free. 

That’s right, it’s a Twitter contest, with the prize being a free registration to the show, which would otherwise run you $999 at the moment, and $1299 on site.

All you’ve got to do is hit Twitter and tell us why you want to go to Hexagan, why you DESERVE to go to Hexagon, and use the #hex12 hashtag. 

Like this: “I’ve been scanning since before Leica bought Cyra Technologies. #hex12”

Or, even, like this:


Whoever’s Twitter handle is most associated with the #hex12 hashtag over the next two weeks wins the prize (find all the gnarly details here).

New to Twitter? Don’t get this little contest at all? Think Twitter is a waste of time? Alright, give me two minutes of your time here:

Twitter is an excellent way to create a feed of information that you actually want, unfiltered by media types like me (unless you want my filter…), piped directly to you in any way you want it, via web browser, your phone, the iPad, whatever. Don’t worry so much about “tweeting,” and don’t make stupid jokes about nobody caring about what you had for lunch – that’s a great way to look ignorant and, well, just unfunny. Don’t do it. Or do it right now while no one is listening and get it out of your system. 

Twitter, above all else, is for listening. You own a Leica scanner, say. Don’t you want to know as soon as possible when the new version of Cyclone is released? Follow Leica on Twitter and you will. Or follow the HDS blog for links to handy information about getting the most out of your scanner. Or, well, follow me and you’ll get all kinds of links to interesting stuff around the web that you don’t have time to search for because you’re out in the field actually getting paid. 

So, how do you get started?

First, go to and set up an account. You operate laser scanners and businesses. Don’t tell me you can’t figure it out. Make sure you fill out your profile fully, with a photo and all that nice stuff. If you don’t, people will think you’re a spambot. It takes literally five minutes. 

Then start following people – “following” people means their tweets will show up in your “feed.” You’ll see what they have to say. Whom to follow? There’s a search bar at the top of the screen. Start using it. Don’t follow annoying celebrities (well, do it if you want to, but you guys seem to be against time-wasting, in general). Do follow the companies you do business with on a regular basis. Follow people whose opinion you respect. Start slowly. Often, the people you follow will follow you back. Sometimes they won’t. The more of a broadcast outlet they are, the less likely it is they’ll follow you back. CNN will not follow you back. I probably will because I want to know what you’re up to in the 3D data capture world. 

When you feel comfortable with the way that Twitter operates, start putting some posts out there. Tell people what you’re up to: “Just scanned a bridge for a client – can’t believe I used to use a total station for that.” “Heading out to JFK today to scan runway 6. Wonder what security will be like…” Whatever you want, really. Whatever you’d say to the person next to you at a conference about what you’ve got on the slate for the upcoming week. 

Remember, though, that only your followers can “hear” you when you tweet. If you’ve got five followers, only those five will see your tweet.

UNLESS. You use a hashtag that other people are using. A hashtag is a “#” followed by a group of letters, which allows for topics to easily be searched. Like “#spar12,” which people were using last week to tweet about the SPAR Conference. Check out what happened by clicking here.

Pretty cool, right. Hundreds of people providing short little bits of information about laser scanning and 3D data capture. Everyone participating in the conversation is right there waiting for you to follow them. Some of them would annoy the heck out of you. Some of them will prove to be invaluable business partners at some point. You might find a new friend or two. It can be a great way to network. 

So, why not try it out by using the #hex12 hashtag? It might get you a free $999 registration to the Hexagon conference, sure. But it also might get you a few more valuable business connections and pieces of information. Give it a try. 

Twitter resources: 

PC World’s guide to using Twitter for business.

How the CTO of a start-up uses Twitter.

A just okay Howcast video for getting started on Twitter. I think they should focus on the listening before the tweeting, but it gets the job done. 

• Look for a list of whom to follow in the 3D world in short order. That’s a subject for an upcoming post. I’ll be doing Twitter stuff all week this week. 

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