Please compare ScanLook with MDL’s Dynascan.
The MDL Dynascan is a nice little unit. We really like its form and price. That’s where it ended for us. We built ScanLook because we wanted to do Mobile mapping (i.e. LIDAR and imagery) but at a much better price point than we could get from Riegl, Optech, Streetmapper, or Trimble. We wanted to be able to do survey grade work along with GIS work so that eliminated even the top–end Topcon system.
We looked at MDL’s Dynascan and even had a demo here at our office. It’s a great system if you don’t mind driving at walking speed to collect your data, don’t mind fighting the GPS outages from RTK (which means lots of waiting or just plain quitting in some cases), don’t need anything better than a 4 to 6 inch point cloud, don’t care if your data lines up with the ground (i.e. angle as well as the position). Basically, we think it would be good in very hostile environments where nothing else will work and anything is better than nothing. We had no use for this but for some applications I am sure it is a good fit.
As a result, we built ScanLook. We are fortunate that we had the necessary skill sets to do so. We are confident it is the future of mobile mapping systems. It’s price is significantly less than all other systems but the low–end MDL units and it performs at the level of the high end systems.
Our price is basically the same as MDL’s if you want an RTK system. However, we really discourage an RTK system except for very special cases. You can read why here (Problems using RTK for Mobile Mapping). This is not to say that we wouldn’t sell an RTK enabled system. Such a system would cost less than the other systems. Again, in certain applications this may be perfectly fine and the best solution.
Using the F3D (FARO FOCUS 3D) we can get very good high definition scans. Mounted at a 30 degree tilt it even does a fair job at collecting a lot of GIS data. However, when this is combined with the Velodyne HD32 the results are really amazing. The Velodyne is a GIS grade (1 to 2cm) scanner but its 32 lasers in a 40 degree field of view lets almost nothing escape its view. Only the smallest area immediately behind an object is not visible to the scanner.
On the other hand, MDL’s systems are mounted vertically in a single scanner unit and most GIS data will be invisible. The MDL scanners collect at only 36KHz (30Hz mirror speed) whereas the F3D collects at 976KHz (100Hz mirror speed) and the Velodyne at 700KHz (10Hz but 32 lasers). The dual–head MDL systems are angled but still suffer all of the other disadvantages mentioned already.
The question is not how ScanLook compares with MDL’s Dynascan but with all of the other scanners combined on the market. Aside from MDL, no other vendor can compete with us on price. While MDL has similarly priced products, the products are drastically different. It’s more like comparing MDL with Optech or Riegl. There are many, many advantages to ScanLook over every other system. The only advantage Riegl, Optech, Trimble, and Streetmapper have over ScanLook is scanning range from the scanner. Basically ScanLook can scan at most 65 meters on the ground. However, this is really true for all scanners, even static scanners. The ground incidence angle is horrible and that’s why we mount ScanLook on a mast that can easily extend to 12+ feet. Every 5 feet of height gives roughly 50 feet of range.