Mobile Lidar Scanning For Dirt?

When we think of a device like the handheld Leica BLK2GO, we typically think of scanning interior spaces in the vertical discipline. In fact, those in the site development and the horizontal construction space might not even know what this technology is.

The BLK2GO is a handheld mobile lidar device that lets you simply walk and scan at around 420,000 points per second, capturing interior spaces in minutes instead of hours. Visual sensors continuously analyze the space while registering point data on the fly utilizing SLAM technology. It does all this while weighing less than 2lbs with accuracy in the range of 1/2″. When you’re done, simply upload the data to your PC and you’re finished. Move it to your design or analysis software of choice.

So what does this mean outside the building? At ATG, we’re not satisfied with out-of-the-box recommendations and are always looking to push and test every piece of technology in our arsenal. So what if we take our BLK2GO outside?

Our first look into that world brings us to a typical situation in the construction world…material stockpiles. Why would I do this when there are some great options for this now? UAV’S are the perfect solution for measuring stockpiles.

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Slope analysis in Autodesk Infraworks


Gather the data in minutes, process the data in a few hours and check your volumes. Although it’s a recommended workflow, it’s not without roadblocks. For instance, flying over people and controlled airspace could prevent this operation altogether. Don’t forget licensing and insurance.

Traditional surveys are simply the amount of time to gather points, as well as the safety of placing someone on a loose material. Traditional stationary lidar work with something like the BLK360 or RTC360, both are fantastic tools.

The Data

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Approximately 250′ x 95′ x 12′. Total scan time: 9 minutes. Yes 9 minutes. What you’re looking at here is a walk around a dirt stockpile, imported into Autodesk Infraworks and showing volumes and elevation data. A total turnaround time from field to design software of 1 hour and 30 minutes into actionable data inside of Infraworks or Civil 3D.

Imagine keeping this device in the job trailer, walking out, and doing a quick walk based on material movement frequency and keeping track of costs and materials over your lunch hour!

We’ve got a lot of cool things in store from the Reality Capture team here so stay tuned as we dive into more applications for this versatile technology from the experts at ATG. Contact the author of this post by reaching out to Director of Reality Capture, Nick Harper, at nharper@atgusa.com.

Download this FREE Whitepaper on A Comprehensive Comparison of Leica’s Mobile Scanning Devices.

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