Surveying BIM with Topcon


Operating in Ireland since 1996, Topcon provides positional equipment for construction and civil engineering firms. From the BIM side, the firm supplies hardware and software for geospatial information that ranges from transferring levels on site to mass data collection with imaging technologies.

Karol Friel works in the Positioning Instruments Division at Topcon Ireland. “Projects implementing BIM need positioning information at all stages of the project, from design to management right through to demolition. We provide lay-out the hardware and software for that.”

Topcon’s BIM solutions help perform both fast Laser Scanning for Design right through to layout of the design points and quick quality control documentation. A project’s success is based on productivity, accuracy and co-ordination; Topcon’s BIM system contributes precise as-built data back to the BIM model as work is done. Survey and mapping solutions allow for the rapid collection of high density point cloud data with colourful image overlay for efficient feature recognition and mapping detail, making visualisation of three-dimensional data covering projects from residential boundaries through to full city models possible.

Karol1Topcon knows that construction co-ordination is essential for any building project. Being aware of what was done before and working from the same design plan is critical to maintain schedule and avoid costly collisions. With Topcon’s BIM solutions you stay connected to the same design. “We also do Magnet Enterprise which is basically an efficient way of communicating data from the field to the office and back again. It’s an extremely efficient way of transferring information. Traditionally information like this would have been sent via email, through cables or a USB stick. We send it from the Controller through the cloud; someone on site can send information to the cloud and it can be downloaded by someone in the office, anywhere in the world. So if any changes are made to the design within the BIM environment, it can be transferred seamlessly.” This can also be embedded in conjunction with Autodesk. “The idea is that instead of having software on the PC, if the customer or client is using the Autodesk package they can have what’s called Autodesk 360 which is a free Autodesk cloud connection. That means we can transfer anywhere to the cloud to anybody using Autodesk 360.”

Topcon-LN-100_05Topcon technology includes Layout Navigator (LN-100), a 3D positioning device specifically designed for construction layout activities. The LN-100 strips away complexity to deliver an easy-to-use tool dedicated to BIM layout. It utilises Topcon’s laser and robotic total station technologies to create a totally new tool that’s easy to use, without sacrificing the accuracy and versatility most BIM projects demand. The software allows for simple, one-touch layout for interior building infrastructure, footings and foundations; just press the power button and the LN-100 self-levels. Fire-up its’ hand-held, touch-screen controller and you are ready to go to work. The LN-100 creates an entire zone of 3D positioning data.  Simply take the 360 degree prism and smartphone controller anywhere in the layout zone to get precise measurements.  Both horizontal dimensions and vertical elevations are produced anywhere in the layout zone. Additional accessories allow the LN-100 to be mounted on a building column or other out of the way location because there’s no need to stand and look through the lens, the LN-100 follows you automatically.

Also included in the Topcon portfolio is GLS-2000 Laser Scanner, a compact, high-speed and lightweight Laser Scanner that allows you to quickly and accurately capture 3D data at any project site in less than three minutes with a 360º scan including images. FARO Focus3D X 330 is a high-speed 3D scanner with extra-long range. The Focus3D X 330 advances into entirely new dimensions with the ability to scan objects up to 330m away even in direct sunlight.

“There seems to be quite a few BIM projects in Ireland at the moment, although the companies we talk to are only really starting to think about BIM,” says Karol. “I’m based in the Northern Ireland office, so here it’s a little different. We have to be BIM compliant by 2016. In the south with the customers we deal with, they’re not necessarily worried too much about that but they can certainly see the benefits of embracing BIM. A lot of them are working in mainland UK so if they want to keep working there they’ll have to be up to speed with BIM. It’s pretty much early stages with the companies we’re dealing with but it’s looking very positive.”

This article first appeared in Irish Building Magazine and can be viewed with this link.

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