A highlight of SPAR 2008 was the second annual Asset Owner Roundtable, a forum for airing the unique requirements of asset owners in maximizing laser scanning’s value for their organizations.
This annual forum – first suggested to us by Tad Fry, Manager of Engineering, Brewing Operations & Technology, Anheuser-Busch – began at SPAR 2007 when practitioners and project managers from 23 asset owner organizations met to exchange experiences and requirements in a closed-door working session, then presented their findings to the conference in an open panel discussion. The original agenda emerged from results of a Spar Point survey of owner organizations that investigated business drivers, usage patterns, constraints on adoption – and what solution developers, service providers, EPCs and owners themselves could do to help asset owner organizations accelerate deployment of the technology and maximize its value.
To prepare for this year’s roundtable, we surveyed practitioners at 30 owner organizations to gauge change and progress from last year. We also asked for a wish list – what owners most urgently need the industry to deliver in the next 12 months, and over the next three years. We further probed what owners need from hardware, software and service providers in the way of data management, and to make laser scanning more useful for asset management.
Needed – standards
Facilitator Tad Fry opened this year’s roundtable by detailing the groundswell of demand for standards in this year’s survey responses:
• Standardized process for determining scan resolution
• Better standards for cross-platform integration
• Neutral point cloud data format, data interoperability, universal archive formats
• Standardized resolution terminology
• Industry-specific workflows (best practices)
Fry took the opportunity to note how closely these needs align with the work of the ASTM E57 Committee on 3D Imaging Systems, and urged attendees to join ASTM and get involved with the E57 committee’s activities.
Fry went on to show the value when users define wish lists and communicate them to the industry. In 2003, he recounts, his team put together a wish list whose first item was “the ability to see point clouds and CAD geometry together. We got that. Then we got clash detection, as we had asked. Then we got a free point-cloud viewer.”
What topped the wish lists of this year’s panel?
“Interoperability,” said Deborah Deats, Design and Document Team Leader at BP Texas City, followed by data management capabilities tailored for asset management. “Also, my crew wants to be able to update a point cloud database with one new scan, without re-registering the whole file.” Auto-acquisition of targets is another need, as well as reduced file sizes for point cloud datasets.
Dan Hodges, Program Manager, Technology Integration Office, Intel Corporation, echoed this last point. “We need point cloud size reductions, without losing resolution.”
Joseph Chumbley, Senior Technology Lead, Internal R&D, Terrestrial LIDAR, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, expanded on the need for data management solutions oriented to owners’ asset management requirements: “We need five-year-duration data archiving and retrieval.” Also needed are the ability to add intelligence to point clouds – for instance, to identify a given region as a wall – as well as faster and more automated geometry extraction from point clouds.
Kevin Akin, Senior Transportation Surveyor, Caltrans, says his “number one wish is a mobile scanner producing design-grade data” – a system that produces an absolute coordinate value within 0.03ft (x,y) and 0.02 ft (z) – the driver being the need to make roadway surveying safer, “and I want a solution that is affordable for the DOT.” Advances in archiving scan data are another wish.
Michael Trentacoste, Director of Safety R&D with the Federal Highway Administration, says one of his top needs is “mobile roadway data collection” coupled with ability for the resulting new data formats to be readily integrated with existing pavement-condition data from mobile or fixed-location laser scans and other sources.
Cody Leishman, Piping Designer/Laser Scanning Application Specialist, Petro-Canada Oil Sands, voiced the need, expressed by many survey respondents, for software developers to deliver better data interoperability. He also asked for “more control of display and interference tools, more tools for interfacing with engineering models, and attribution of data.” He’d like to see hardware manufacturers make instruments less temperature-sensitive, thus more usable in cold-weather conditions.
Tom Trieckel, Senior Project Manager – Nuclear Projects, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Arizona Public Service, adds that for his industry, “It would be very beneficial for the software and data to meet our software quality assurance requirements.”
Asset Owner Roundtable 2008 participants and others from the asset owner community have expressed interest in continuing the work started by the Asset Owner Roundtables at SPAR 2008 and SPAR 2007. If you are employed by an asset owner organization and would like to participate in future Asset Owner Roundtable activities, please contact Tom Greaves, tel. +1 978-774-1102.