In an article featured in 'Aggregates Manager' Brooke Wisdom discussed 3D mobile laser scanning for calculating volumes of stockpile inventories . Describing material stockpile inventory as a "necessary evil" for accounting, he laments the fact valuable resources and time are expended to keep track of ever changing stockpile volumes. Ignoring less expensive solutions like TruPulse 360 w/MapSmart Volume software, the article praised laser 3D scanning as the most accurate method for determining volumes largely comparing 3D laser scanning with aerial photogrammetry methods.
With the ability to plot hundreds of thousands of points it's hard to argue that laser scanning produces a more accurate volume total, but you have to ask yourself, at what point does a 3 to 5 percent greater accuracy justify the cost? Conducting a brief Google search I discovered the cost of a new laser 3D scanner ranges from $55,000.00 to $123,915.00! Aerial Photogrammetry can run as much as $15,000.00 per day so the article focused on those two methodologies within the context of cost efficiency.
TruPulse 360 with MapSmart software
the most cost-effective way to
calculate stockpile inventory.
With a price tag of around $3,500, the TruPulse 360 Rangefinder with MapSmart software can do the job with a level of accuracy most Aggregate/Mining companies would be overjoyed with. In a presentation by Oregon State University Graduate students Justin Long and Kevin Boston they compared three (3) methods of measuring Biomass Stockpiles (slash piles) and rated their respective strengths versus cost. The three methods of measurement compared were:
- Geometric Shape
- Laser Range Finder (TruPulse 360B was used)
- LiDAR Scanning
Since it's assumed LiDAR is the best method to achieve actual volume, it was used as the control for comparison. Thirty (30) piles were measured ranging from 29 to 1,775 cubic meters in size with an average pile size of 157 cubic meters. "In terms of biomass recoverability these are very small as typical biomass piles range from 500 – 4,000 cubic meters!"
The first method used was the geometric method where each pile was assigned one of seven geometric shapes. The necessary dimensions were recorded to the nearest tenth of a foot to determine volume.
Secondly, the TruPulse 360B Rangefinder with MapSmart Software system was used. Mounted on a tripod the TruPulse 360B also contains an electronic compass and inclinometer, allowing 3D coordinates to be established on the pile surface. Equipped with Bluetooth and MapSmart Volume software, each point was established with a press of the fire button. A minimum of three targets were used to establish traverse points around the pile. From the starting point, data is collected by outlining the base or "Toe" of the pile and then measuring to the pile surface from top to bottom. This process is repeated from each point while circling the pile. The more points mapped in the greater the detail and accuracy.
Looking at the three finished 3D models it's apparent the LiDAR scanner produces the best representation of the original pile. Yet the real story from this comparison is the dramatic difference between the TruPulse 360B and the geometric models. The geometric model doesn't come close to capturing the complex shape of the pile whereas the TruPulse 360B & MapSmart Software system proffers a very good representation.
"The idea being that if you have two measurement methods, one being high cost, and the other being low cost you would want to use the low cost method if it was able to produce results that were as reliable as the high cost method." In this case the high cost method being the LiDAR scanner clearly established the data set provided by Laser Technology's TruPulse 360 laser rangefinder was consistent as well as reliable!
$3,500 or $55,000?
The choice is yours. Call 1-800-OWN-A-LTI or email us for a practical demonstration.