A Note from the President’s Desk | March 2020

By Bruce Carlson • March 20th, 2020

Response to COVID-19

It is times like this when we at Carlson Software feel especially fortunate to be working with the land surveying, mining and construction industries. All involve field work, fresh air and almost built-in “social distancing”. Work takes place on construction sites, at wind-swept mines, in woods, fields and subdivisions, away from large gatherings in nearly all cases. You can take your Carlson BRX6+ or Carlson NR3 GNSS equipment to the field, run by VRS, and work solo, all alone, and do so with great efficiency. There is hardly a healthier profession to be in during these times than land surveying.

The volume of support calls has been steady here. Clearly, you, our valued customers, are continuing to get work done!  We will be here for you with our tech support as we all work through the various government mandates to avoid restaurants and other gathering places for the next several weeks.

Carlson Software has accordingly had to cancel our Go West Conference in Portland, Oregon, scheduled for April 20 to 22 in response to the CDC urging not to schedule events with over 100 people. We regret any inconvenience this has caused. Those who have pre-paid for attendance have been offered  attendance at the Carlson 2021 User Conference in Maysville, Kentucky and also have been offered one additional module of office software (either of Survey, Civil, Hydro, GIS, CADnet, Precision 3D Topo, Precision 3D Hydro, or the basic version of Carlson Photo Capture with 5 GB of image processing). Visit our conference page here for more information.

March, 2020 will be a record month for Carlson in terms of the release of new and updated products. The list is vast and is best expressed by graphics illustrating the improvements:

Fix1, a ceiling-mounted laser system for measuring cavities, with real-time, internet-based reporting:

The Fix1 mounts on a roof or ceiling and measures the volume of materials in an enclosed stockpile, like a salt dome or any enclosure containing minerals and aggregate of any kind. Reporting can be set up at interval or requested on demand.  A typical report appears below:

3/13/20, 9:08 AM 42,200 m3   (includes 3D modeling)
2/29/20, 4:16 PM 41,999 m3
2/14/20, 8:07 PM 37,952 m3
1/31/20, 1:25 PM 35,019 m3
1/16/20, 4:40 PM 30,227 m3
1/10/20, 9:23 AM 24,731 m3   



Ceiling Installation of Fix1, Attached here to Metal Joists

BlastOPS, for Drillhole Layout and Blasting Design, linking to the Boretrak 360 Gyro:

The collar locations from the original layout can be shifted to the precise locations drilled based on input from Carlson DrillGrade machine control. The “as-drilled” downhole measurements from Boretrak 360 plot in Blast Commander as well. Blast Commander links together the entire blasting process as follows:

BlastOPS offers the full loop of blasting design, drill navigation, drilling, hole loading and measurement:

Carlson Software’s “full loop” solution for Blasting is unrivaled in the marketplace, especially since it contains the unique integration of DrillGrade for drill navigation and reporting and Boretrak 360 for downhole deviation measurement of the holes.

Shown below is a 3D solid model of a highwall face being prepared for the next blast, as seen in BlastOPS. It was measured by drone and illustrates results of image processing in Carlson Photo Capture.


Boretrak 360 (Gyro Version):

The new Boretrak 360 uses a made-in-America Gyro to track the downhole deviations of any hole drilled, prior to placement of explosives. This is useful for several purposes. If the hole is in the row nearest the face of the bench, downhole mapping can detect whether the hole deviated in the direction of the highwall face leading to the potential for excessive fly rock. Vice versa, a hole deviating away from the face might impact the ability to either break up the rock in a blast or obtain the targeted particle size distribution. Several countries require blast hole reports with downhole mapping, which Boretrak 360 provides. In all cases, the loading of the holes with explosives can be fine-tuned based on the mapping of downhole deviations and total depths.

Through use of gyro technology, all heavy cables and rods can be left behind and you simply lower the Boretrak 360 in holes as little as 3” in diameter. The gyro technology, double-checked by active inclinometers, leads to precise downhole deviation mapping. The reported data is stored to an Android handheld running Carlson Boretrak Mobile, and the data can then be fed to Carlson Blast OPS, the full-featured office solution for blast hole mapping and hole loading analysis.

Carlson Photo Capture (CPC) with Field-to-Finish Integration for Carlson Survey:

Carlson Software is readying a new release of Carlson Photo Capture for March 31st, 2020. This release not only incorporates recent breakthroughs on high-accuracy surface modeling and “granular” graphics as seen in the highwall above, matching all competitors, but builds in a unique linkage to the Carlson Field-to-Finish system found in Carlson Survey. Now, CPC can read in the Carlson “.fld” file and display the symbol and linework elements in a dialog within CPC (portion shown below):

Then inside what we call the “Survey Canvas”, as you click on edge-of-pavement lines using code EP, or click on trees using various tree codes, you get the linework and symbols as shown below. You are also creating a standard Carlson “.crd” file, which can be plotted back in Carlson Survey or re-processed for identical (and expanded) field-to-finish drafting. While CPC will show real-time symbols like trees, monuments, etc., linework appears as standard continuous lines within CPC. But a fence line, for example, will re-process in Carlson Survey in expanded form (—x—x—x–), as will other advanced linetypes such as curb-and-gutter lines using our template concept (one set of clicks leads to all portions of the curb and gutter). Now with the March 31st release, CPC has full integration with Carlson Survey’s field-to-finish. Users also have the option of simply plotting the dxf file as made in CPC without re-processing in Carlson Survey.

Precision 3D Topo 2020 with Pointcloud (.las file) Feature Extraction including Paint Striping:

Everyone is talking about “feature extraction” from pointclouds. Well it is here, in P3D Topo 2020 releasing March 31st. We have focused heavily on paint stripes since paint stripes can define edge-of-pavements, centerlines and parking lots in particular. We capture in 3D the ends of the painting stripes so wherever paint is involved, hundreds of topo points are gathered nearly instantaneously, and the 3D polylines serve the double purpose of providing precise CAD deliverables from pointclouds. Other feature extraction is available as well in P3D Topo 2020. The polylines in P3D link back to CAD through LandXML export.


Survey Canvas in CPC


Surface with Textures as Seen in the Carlson Point Cloud Module  converts to final CAD product by P3D Topo!         





Precision 3D Hydro 2020 with Complete Storm Sewer Design:

Let me first admit that Precision 3D Hydro (P3D Hydro) is my favorite product to work in. To use P3D Hydro most effectively, you need to have an accurate DTM. This should push surveyors and civil engineers to make (and deliver) high accuracy digital terrain models. One way to get a very accurate “intelligent” DTM is to use the Carlson Road Network command in the Carlson Civil Module. This command takes a base DTM and outputs a final DTM surface with distinct colors for portions of the road such as asphalt, concrete curb and gutter, grassy shoulders and steep rock cut slopes. Be sure to click the “gear box” icon to make a merged output TIN, merging the new road with the original TIN.

Then for even greater differentiation of surface textures in the final TIN, use the command in Carlson Hydrology, “Define Watershed Layers”. This allows you to color closed polylines for things like roofs, driveways and wooded areas and assign them runoff coefficients within the Hydrology Module. But you can click “Color TIN” and further color and differentiate the TIN previously output by Road Network.

Then when this TIN is loaded into P3D Hydro, distinct runoff coefficients can be associated with all distinct colored areas. You not only load a TIN, but you load a pre-textured TIN that is “intelligent”: each texture has its own Rational Method runoff coefficient (C) or SCS Curve Number (CN).  Within any defined watershed feeding a curb inlet, drainage grate or culvert pipe, the composite C value is then automatically calculated. For that matter, the watersheds themselves are automatically calculated!  These “intelligent TINS” can also be made by use of the LandXML 2.0 format, which Carlson Software hopes could be more widely adopted to greater enhance civil engineering and hydrology design. LandXML 1.0 TINS are 1-dimensional (x,y,z only) but LandXML 2.0 TINS are multi-dimensional, associating colors, textures or any parameter desired with each triangle.  Our industry needs to move to LandXML 2.0!

Now, by setting your “intelligent” TIN within Surface Manager, shown below, you can click “Dynamiccad” under the Precision 3D pulldown and drop into P3D Hydro.

Here in P3D Hydro, you can design your culverts, channel liners and storm sewer systems fully in 3D!  The first thing you see is the pre-texturing of your “intelligent TIN”.  You can then turn on low points and see where you might want to place curb inlets.  Some of the yellow sticks for low points are shown below:

Drainage structures for any inlet, grate or headwall for outfalls can be made as precisely accurate solid objects and used within P3D Hydro. We are here for you on this. Send us your preferred, commonly used drainage structures and we will make them for you!  Shown below are some Kentucky-standard 10’ curb inlets as placed on this subdivision example:

Where it says “Structure” at right, you can click there and browse to libraries of inlet, grate and headwall structures. Note also the green line along the curb. P3D Hydro has  a “curb snap” and can find and follow the curb and gutter face, placing curb inlets perfectly on the site. These low point inlets (manhole lid in the middle) can also snap additionally to the low point in the curb line, detected by the small red circle shown above. You can accomplish quick storm sewer layout from a distance this way without zooming in closely, and be assured of accuracy in the process.

Tributary storm sewer lines can connect to a pre-drawn storm sewer by clicking on the existing object, in which case a “diamond” icon appears, ensuring you do not get a double insertion of the inlet. Drop catch basins are created as necessary to receive a tributary entering from a lower elevation.

If you don’t like a particular attachment to a catch basin, such as the default which is closest, just grip the pipe in 3D and move it to any of the predefined or user-defined available connection points, which appear as blue dots to which the pipe will “snap” and connect.

Finally, just highlight the Pipe Network in the Scene Explorer, click the Analyze icon (shown above left in red) and then the Editor icon (shown above to the right), edit pipe sizes for acceptable hydraulic grade lines, and then return to CAD.  Everything is drawn already, dynamically! 

The drafting in CAD occurs “real-time” as you design in P3D Hydro, and all edits are reflected automatically in the CAD drawing. The particular annotation style is whatever was set as the default for the plan and profile views. The profile views plot in layouts.  P3D Hydro also allows the saving of a “.sew” file which can be plotted in plan and profile in the Carlson Hydrology Module, “from file” at any time. This real-time 3D design and CAD drafting turns the CAD into a drafting tool, and makes P3D Hydro the true design environment. Plus it’s fun, which we all can use a little more of lately!

While our main release of the Carlson Office Suite of software is typically scheduled for August, here in March, 2020, multiple Carlson products are releasing, from hardware to software, providing breakthrough automation, combined as always with our industry leading tech support.

Bruce Carlson, PE
President, Carlson Software

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