Ten Questions: Trimble SX10 Scanning Total Station

Trimble’s SX10 acts as both laser scanner and high-grade survey total station simultaneously. Spatial Media contributor Marco Cecala caught up with Derek Shanks, Trimble SX10 Product Manager, to discuss:

1. How do I set up the unit, how is it different from a total station set up?
You setup the SX10 as you would a standard total station. The one difference being that you use the plummet camera video feed on the controller to do the final accurate positioning of the instrument over the mark. This plummet camera allows you store images and associated station setup data with your position for greater traceability.

2. Is it a good total station?
It is a great total station. All SX10’s are 1″ instruments and have the smallest EDM spot size on the market. Traditional total station functionality is available through the Trimble Access field software which seamlessly integrates with the SX10 cameras for efficient and accurate measurements.

3. Is it a good scanner?
The SX10 provides a really clean point cloud and at 26.6kHz, is truly a scanning total station. A full dome scan can be completed in 12 minutes with up to 8M points returned. The ability to scan from coordinated station setups removes the need for scan registration in the office as the scans are instantly registered and available in the field. The scan data is corrected for your applicable coordinate system/scale factor settings and atmospheric corrections to ensure that survey and scan data fit together effortlessly. There is also the ability to scan from uncoordinated stations providing ultimate flexibility.

4. How do I get multiple scans into my computer?
There is no change to the workflow with the SX10, scan files and all other job data is transferred with the Trimble Access job file and imported into Trimble Business Center or Trimble RealWorks automatically. There are no separate steps or requirements for the scan data.

5. Once I have a point cloud how do I perform survey calculations against the cloud?
Every point in the point cloud has a valid 3D coordinate that can be used for calculations instantly in the field or later back in the office. The point cloud can just be seen as a really large number of single topo shots.

6. What typical field calculations can I do with the data?
In the field, inverse measurements between 2 points, volume and area calculations are all straightforward and typical calculations. As are standard stakeout routines using both standard and scan data captured using the SX10.

7. How do I get data from my computer back to the field?
There’s no change in the process to get data from the office back to Trimble Access field software with the SX10. Exports such as from Trimble Business Center and other office software packages can be imported and used in Trimble Access.

8. How do I get useable data to somebody with a slower computer?
Trimble Clarity is an online viewer that lets you share data from Trimble Business Center with anyone and allow them to view, comment and make measurements. There are also great tools within TBC that let you sample down scan data to the required density which allows for smaller files to be shared.

9. What are the cost benefits of this compared to two dedicated units?
Only needing one instrument to get the scanning and total station functionality saves you on upfront instrument costs as well as ongoing storage and maintenance costs. Bringing scanning functionality to the everyday total station has also shown significant time and cost savings in both field work and office processing.

10. How steep is the learning curve?
With the SX10 being fully integrated with the Trimble Access field software and workflows, there is little to no learning curve for anyone already using Trimble Access. For those that haven’t, then as with any software switch there is a learning curve, but with the SX10 behaving like a normal total station there is no significant addition to this.

To learn more about the key features of the SX10 go to: http://bit.ly/key-features-of-SX10