In this article we will be looking at a very useful feature in Trimble Business Center (TBC) called Create CAD Points from Scan Points.  To quote TBC’s Help menu, this allows you to “…create CAD points with elevations from selected scan points using spatial or random sampling. You can then use the scan-based CAD points to perform various CAD functions in TBC or export them to other systems.”

This routine is great for quickly generating exportable 3D coordinates from scans taken over large, and sometimes hazardous, or difficult-to-access areas. This would include busy roads and intersections, stockpiles, excavations and depressions, contours and surfaces (i.e., landscapes and golf courses), and a host of other situations.

How does it work?

To begin, be sure to have TBC’s Surface Modeling edition or higher, as well as the optional Scanning Module.

Download TBC’s Workflow Matrix 

Next, we need a TBC project with a dataset containing scanned points. This can come from a variety of sources and instruments including the Trimble X7, TX6 scanner, TX8 scanner, SX10 and SX12 scanning total stations, and other select S-Series total stations. Point cloud data can even come from third party scanners and imported files using common scan formats such as LAS and LAZ, E57, PTS, etc.

The routine can be thought of as having two distinct steps, each with several smaller sub-steps.

Step 1: Create the CAD points using the Create CAD Points from Scan Points routine.

Step 2: Convert the CAD points to exportable coordinates using the Create from CAD routine.

Summary of Step 1:

  1. Decide and define your area of interest.
  2. Eliminate unwanted objects or features that will result in undesirable coordinates.
  3. Using the Create CAD Points from Scan Points routine:
    1. Select your scan points.
    2. Select the desired sampling type
      1. Spatial allows selection of approximate spacing.
      2. Random allows selection of maximum number of points.
    3. Select the desired spacing or number of points.
    4. Create a layer for your CAD points.
    5. Apply!
      1. This will create the CAD points and concludes Step 1.

Summary of Step 2:

  1. Isolate your CAD points by layer using TBC’s View Filter Manager.
  2. In the CAD dropdown menu, select “Create from CAD” and…
    1. Select your CAD points.
    2. Select “CAD points and mesh vertices” from the menu.
    3. Check/uncheck “Create grid-only points” as desired
      1. This determines if lats/lons will also be created with certain project.
    4. Input a starting Point ID.
    5. Create a layer for your coordinates.
    6. Input a feature code if desired.
    7. Apply!
      1. This will create the coordinates and concludes Step 2.

*Note:  If you don’t see your coordinates on screen immediately, don’t panic.  If you have previously toggled them off, you may need to restore point visibility using the layer control or raw data options in the View Filter Manager.  Toggle things on until viewable.

That’s it!  You’ve done it! You can now export your coordinates just like any others you might have created in your project using TBC’s built-in export routines.

Hope that helps, and until next time, have an accurate day!