Introducing the SLAM Scan-Off Program at the 2023 GoGeomatics Expo
Join the SLAM Scan-Off
The GoGeomatics team and committee members are excited to introduce the SLAM Program at the 2023 GoGeomatics Expo in Calgary, November 6-8, 2023.
SLAM scan-off organizer, Alex Hill-Stosky, feels the GoGeomatics Expo in Calgary is important for many reasons. He believes getting the “technology and know-how into the spotlight” is needed so spatial information producers, providers, users and analysts can take stock of what is going on.
He believes there is too much out there for just one magazine, organization, innovator or professional to know everything, and that successful innovation needs awareness. Hill-Stosky believes the Expo will provide a world forum for Canadian businesses.
“I always joke that Canada adopts technology and methods after the USA proves they can work. But what happens when the revolution is happening in Asia, Australia and Europe? It’s time for us to start bringing more world players in to see past the ocean horizons and see what’s being done around the world,” Hill-Stosky says.
The SLAM Scan-off is one of many educational (and fun) sessions at the Expo.
How the Scan-Off Will Work
A test area designed to provide a variety of geometries, surfaces, and lighting conditions will be set up at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre will be set up on November 3, 2023. A number of targets and key feature points will be measured beforehand with conventional surveying instruments.
Each participant will schedule a time to complete their data capture. Later in the Expo schedule, the participants will have the opportunity to present their processed data to an audience. The point clouds will be the primary area of focus, evaluating its representation of the scene and the objects within it, to determine the confidence of the reconstructed area. Measurements will also be taken inside each set to determine their spatial fidelity. Additionally, there will be evaluations of collection and processing times in order to give potential customers an idea of time savings.
While this is a “scan-off,” it is not billeted as a “competition” but more of a showcase for reality capture technology, with different solutions serving different needs in terms of point density, precision, accuracy and end-use model processing options. Essentially, it’s an evaluation of many different platforms to help Canadian spatial professionals pick the right tool for the job.
Hill-Stosky is most excited about the technological and analytical aspects of the Expo, especially the autonomous devices and A.I. extraction of data. He says the Laser scanning has made “quantum leaps” since they were made and he wonders if, or when, SLAM will overtake TLiDAR. The 3D reconstructions of NeRF systems like NVIDIA’s ‘Neuralangelo’ are being noticed and Hill-Stosky wonders how long before they’re used in spatial analytics. For Schrock, the exhibits and networking have the biggest draw but says, “I am also glad there will be presentations and educational opportunities.” The Expo is also looking for more presenters for the education track.
The SLAM scan-off is important because it shows how SLAM combines computer vision and analytics with spatial tools such as Lidar and photogrammetry to quickly and smoothly collect spatial data just by walking. It is a special industry event where a scan-to-scan comparison of Lidar mapping platforms and mapping SLAM technology will be tested for effectiveness and efficiency against Terrestrial Lidar (TLidar) platforms.
There is nothing to adjust, nothing to set up, no cumbersome equipment to move and no more planning ‘line of sight.’
It is important to know who the players are and what they are capable of. Where do these players fit into the needs of those people attending the GoGeomatics Expo in Calgary?
Hill-Stosky asks, “Do you want sub-centimetre accuracy or do you just want a well-represented 1:1 approximation of your place? If it performs as well as the hand scanner you wanted, would the backpack be a wiser ergonomic choice? Maybe one that’s both? Is automation your best choice for the situational awareness you’re looking for? Is what’s collected of enough quality to get the information you want out of it, particularly if you’re intending to use point cloud extraction software?”
Hill-Stosky wants to present the GoGeomatics Expo to attendees and exhibitors as an introduction opportunity for those who have already brought this technology, see what providers are capable of, see samples of the data for trials (extraction software) and compare “a scene” against multiple tools. The Scan-off is an opportunity for users and others in the industry to see where the market stands and what options are available.
While SLAM is the focus of the scan-off, the test course will also be made available to showcase other data capture technologies. Got a conventional scanner, scanning total station, photogrammetry or NeRF solution, other other system? Then run it through its paces and present it in the Demo Zone.
The SLAM scan-off is being coordinated locally by Carina Butterworth and Lance Hummel from SAIT. A student group has stepped up to measure and create a control network for the SLAM scan-off. The Telus Convention Centre has been kind enough to offer its public space as the location of the SLAM scan-off route. The four students, Natalia Buitrago Vergara, Charli Calon, Racquel Spencer-Markland, and Wenhao Li, are completing outdoor GNSS and interior laser scanning control surveys for the participants to adjust their coordinates to. The students are also processing the observations to provide a csv file with coordinates of the control points provided for assessment. They will be completing a terrestrial laser scan of the route for visual purposes for the competitors and to be the control laser scan for the scan-off. They have been working hard during their summer vacation at completing the survey and processing the data!
Gavin Schrock, an industry member, consulting editor and land surveyor, says, “The GoGeo Expo is going to provide Canada and North America with a much needed resource: a non-vendor-centric showcase of geomatics hardware, software, and solutions.”
He notes that annually, there are some great conferences, for example, Trimble Dimensions and Leica/Hexagon HxGN, but they are “vendor centric.” Schrock notes there is nothing the size of the annual INTERGEO exhibition that is held in Germany. He gives GeoWeek, held in February, as an example of a vendor neutral expo in North America.
Schrock says, “The GoGeo Expo will offer another great resource for geomatics practitioners, vendors, students, and governmental organizations to see what is new and cool.”
The Expo will provide the Canadian geospatial community the opportunity to come together easily, allowing producers and innovators to come and share with present and prospective users. The community needs to come together to share and innovate, and the Expo is an important place to share success stories, technology and methods, as well as the environmental challenges with Reality Capture systems.
“We need to come together to share what works and what’s benefiting those people we mean to serve. Having a place to innovate and share success stories will be important as the technology and methods continue to be improved and pioneered,” says Hill-Stosky.
Come to the GoGeomatics Expo and see the SLAM Scan-off for yourself! for yourself!