An Unorthodox (but interesting) RoboDot Application

Occasionally, an unorthodox idea pops up when looking for ways to test the features and capabilities of RoboDot. In this blog post, we explore how two RoboDots and a lawnmower can be used to create a rough terrain model (while mowing) with our PPK workflow and some point cloud tools.

Two RoboDots were used. One as a base station, on a fixed tripod, and another as a rover, mounted to a Troybuilt riding mower. Both RoboDots were turned on, kicking off the automatic observation logging process. Then, the lawnmower was driven in a "lawnmower pattern" over sloping and partially wooded terrain near our Hangar 7 facility.

Once the mowing operation was completed, one observation file was downloaded from each RoboDot. The observation files can be directly entered into the RoboDot Utility's Rover PPK tool.

The RoboDot Utility creates a .csv file with high precision latitude and longitude for every recorded observation in the project folder. Our end goal is a terrain model, so we start by creating a point cloud. The easiest way to make a point cloud of the terrain is to create a text file containing lines with xyz coordinates. To do this best, our WGS84 curvilinear coordinates need to be converted to cartesian coordinates.

NGS Coordinate Conversion and Transformation Tool (NCAT) provides an easy way to convert points from WGS84 to state plane coordinates. We simply need to upload a copy of the RoboDot Utility's .cvs file that conforms to the NCAT format.

Using the transformation results from NCAT, a text file with x,y,z coordinates can easily be formatted. The point cloud file can easily be opened in a point cloud viewer such as open-source Cloud Compare.

Cloud Compare can be used to clean up or classify the point cloud and convert the format to other more detailed formats such as .las that can be viewed in tools like Virtual Surveyor which is tailored for viewing, measuring, manipulating, and designing survey data.

Contact us to discover how RoboDot can solve your survey and measurement needs.