Geo Week News

January 30, 2007

Trimble Unveils VX Spatial Station

Trimble yesterday unveiled a new instrument that combines total station-based optical measurement with 3D scanning and video. Omar Soubra, Trimble’s portfolio manager for 3D scanning solutions, tells us the Trimble VX Spatial Station is not designed to compete with today’s 3D laser scanners, but instead to introduce more surveyors to the value of 3D scanning. The new instrument can scan up to 15 points/second (5 points/second typical) at range up to 150m, with minimum point spacing of 10mm.

The system also includes video streaming and image capture technology that Trimble calls VISION. The idea is to stream digital images of the job site through the data collection software to save measuring time and improve quality. This aids remote and coarse aiming – users can select target points to measure by tapping the controller’s touch screen at corresponding points in the video stream. The technology also overlays position data on live video of the job site so users can see in real time whether all necessary features have been measured before leaving the site. Still images can be captured from the video stream for QA and presentation uses.

“The strength of this new instrument will be the deliverables,” Soubra told us. “Not a point cloud, not a picture – it’s a new combination. And we are using traditional survey measurements.” He says VX Spatial Station will be offered with Trimble’s RealWorks Survey software for combining digital imagery, 3D surface measurements and discrete point data.

We understand this launch comes as Trimble’s Survey Division prepares to restructure its offerings into two product portfolios. One, called Integrated Surveying, will consist of high-accuracy positioning tools, namely the company’s total stations and GPS systems. The other, a new portfolio called Spatial Imaging, will comprise tools for shape capture, imaging and visualization, including the new VX Spatial Station and Trimble’s existing GX 3D laser scanner.

Pricing was not announced. We expect VX Spatial Station will be priced between today’s total stations and current high-end 3D laser scanner prices, probably around $70,000. Availability will be later this quarter.

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