Use of laser scanner reference spheres - Optimal distance to the scanner

Register point clouds using laser scanning reference spheres

In this user story, we want to find out the distance between scanner and reference spheres allowing spheres to be registered still well in FARO Scene software. Simply put: At what distance may I position my targets so that I can use them for scan registration.

We have prepared a test area of 35m length. The FARO Focus 3D laser scanner was set at 0.00m. Starting at 7.5m, reference spheres were positioned every 2.5m. About the reference spheres: The following spheres of our product range were tested: Flexi, Basic, Traveler, UltraX (diameter 145mm each time) and XXL (diameter 200mm). The analysis was reduced to both standard types of spheres (145mm and 200mm diameter).

The analysis of Flexi, Basic, Traveler and UltraX didn't reveal any significant differences. The charts below show distances/resolutions/qualities a successful registration can be expected for. (Indications for resolution and quality result from the selection options in FARO Focus 3D scanner; thus, they cannot be assigned to other scanners.)

Laser scanner reference sphere Basic, Flexi, UltraX and Traveler

In our measurements, all four spheres showed jus minor deviations. At a distance of up to 20m, spheres can perfectly be registered automatically (green). In the yellow section, automatic registration can still be realized but you should realize that less than 80 scan points were used for calculating the matching. You should decide situation-dependently if you want to use the reference sphere for registration or not. In the red section, teh algorithm for automatic target detection fails since too less scan points exist.

Laser scanner reference sphere Basic

In close range, the reference sphere Basic convinces in almost all scanner settings (resolution and quality) and can be registered automatically at more than 30 meters when defaultstandard settings are chosen.

Laser scanner reference sphere Flexi

Concerning detection properties, the reference sphere Flexi is on the same level as reference sphere Basic. However, Flexi is significantly more sturdy and thus more durable than Basic.

Laser scanner reference sphere UltraX

The reference sphere UltraX is the most precise one of all three standard spheres. Most scan points for calculation matching are detected on the UltraX sphere.

Laser scanner reference sphere Traveler

The reference sphere Traveler is automatically detected in many scanner settings within up to 20 meters. The laser scanner sphere Traveler is characterized by the small pack size that is attractive especially for frequent travellers.

Laser scannere sphere XXL

The laser scanner reference sphere XXL was designed particularly for large distances. That's why we didn't test a detection in less than 15 meters.