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Combined multibeam/laser acquisition with QINSy

Multibeam echosounders have been used to map the seafloor for almost two decades. Sensor resolution has increased dramatically. Resolutions of 0.5 degrees, or better, are not uncommon. In combination with high ping rates, such high resolutions support acquisition of very dense point clouds. This leads to accurate mapping of small features such as pipelines, underwater structures, wrecks, ordinance and debris. Multibeam imagery data further enhances our view of the underwater environment, adding to the ever-increasing data volumes.

Most multibeam transducers employ a swath sector of 120-150 degrees. Two transducers mounted at angles to the vertical in a dual head configuration widen the swath sector beyond 180 degrees. A few sounders offer a swath sector of 210 degrees using a single transducer. Such wide swaths permit observation of vertical underwater structures right up to the water surface. Extremely detailed 3D images of the underwater environment are routinely produced, including breakwaters, quay walls, platforms and other underwater structures with centimeter level accuracy.
Multibeam systems cannot acquire point cloud data above the water surface. Terrain models of structures are simply “cut off” above the air-water interface. In many cases we would prefer continuous terrain models that include above-water structures.

       

       

Lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) techniques have also been employed for almost two decades, mostly for topographic surveys. Airborne laser has long been efficient at mapping large land areas. For smaller areas, static Lidar techniques are commonly used to map terrain for various purposes, including land development projects. Under pressure to acquire ever more dense data, in shorter periods of time, with less manpower, terrestrial mobile laser systems have recently been introduced successfully. In combination with high-end INS systems they can produce extremely detailed 3D point clouds with centimeter level accuracy.

In 2008 QPS added support in QINSy for the MDL Dynascan, an instrument with a rotational speed of 10 Hz, an angular resolution of 0.01 degrees and a maximum distance of 150 meters. In 2009, two high resolution lasers were integrated into QINSy: the extremely accurate Leica HDS6000/6100 (50Hz, 0.009 degrees, 100 meters) and the longer range Riegl laser, also an extremely accurate laser (100Hz, 0.018 degrees, 800 meters). With a multiple target option the Riegl is even able to penetrate vegetation on breakwaters for example. Both produce huge data volumes.

As with multibeam systems, lasers suffer from physical limitations. The penetration of laser light into water is very limited. Structures like bridges are simply “cut off” at the air-water interface.
At the land-sea interface, and where structures extend above and below the waterline, it makes sense to integrate laser and multibeam into one system, acquiring above and below water data in one pass.
Continuous software refinements have kept QINSy ahead of the steep data volume curve. QINSy can handle most multibeam echosounders and laser systems simultaneously. The real-time processing capabilities of QINSy mean that point clouds for both sensor types are generated on-the-fly and combined into one homogeneous 3D terrain model. Structures extending above and below the waterline are no longer “cut-off” at the water surface. Kalman filtering in QINSy allows integration of GNSS with an INS, and even an acoustic bottom tracking system, with multibeam and laser systems, so that surveying under bridges and near gantry cranes is not interrupted.
To provide context for the 3D point clouds, QPS recently added QINSy support for the Nikon D Series digital cameras. Digital photographs, taken at regular intervals during acquisition, enhance processing and visualization of 3D point clouds for the scene above water.

Acquisition of laser data in combination with multibeam data will increase the number of collected points by at least a factor 5, but a factor 10 is probably more realistic. Acquisition rates of 200,000 points per second or even higher can easily be achieved. The increase in data volumes has also triggered the optimization of Qloud. Over the recent months our R&D team managed to optimize the speed of point processing in Qloud with a factor 3. Further optimization was achieved with the introduction of SSD (Solid State Disk) drives. QPS will demonstrate the latest version of Qloud and the latest state of hardware with SSD technology. QPS is now able to load over 600,000 points per second. Once the QTM file (QINSy Terrain Model) has been created the user can retrieve and process up to 2 million points per second.
QPS presented this combined, fully integrated multibeam/laser/digital photo data acquisition and processing system at the Oceanology 2010 Conference in London.

 

 

 

 

 

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Quality Positioning Services B.V. | privacy statement | disclaimer | Terms and Conditions of Sale and Service | Powered by Atlassian Confluence / Adaptavist Builder