After a lot of hype Leica have launched a new TST. At launch we were introduced to the MS50 badged ‘Nova’. The new instrument is a unique combination of technologies which, when taken together, look like a powerful tool for building survey:
- It has a scanning function that is much faster (1000pts/sec at 300m range) than scripting a 1200, with a nice ‘pick and point’ interface, including an on instrument scan registration function.
- 2000m RL range to +/- 3mm
- It has a panoramic image capture function (5Mp CMOS) which can both augment scans with RGB texture and provide spatially referenced photogrammetric capture.
- Blindingly fast video tracking of targets
- Silent ‘piezo’ servos
- Swappable 8Gb SD card memory
- 7kg heavy
All of these functions have already apeared on various TST platforms but this is the first example of a fully integrated system- the scanning speed, image capture and user interface are all engineered into a new chasis with a new drive system.
I can see the scanning function as a real boon: you wouldn’t need to hire in a scanner as the MS50 will do the job, even if it is a tad slower than most scanners in its class. Working with a single instrument to acquire scan, photogrammetric and TST data instead of lugging, and powering 2 is a step forward indeed.
There is potential for the combination of low density scans and image capture working well in PhoToPlan, the theory needs to be tested but I think a low density scan or even a control point approach combined with video capture may well generate near spherical panoramic cover of a room which can be used for off-line digitising in VituSurv.
Leica have looked carefully at their core TST market and spotted the overlap with scanning and photogrammetry, many TST surveyors are well aware of the value of scans but havn’t rushed to buy scanners: by bringing the scanner into the TST the instrument becomes a ‘universal’ tool.