Scanning topsoil pile with iPhone 12 Pro and processing in Trimble Business Center

Couple months back I have rewarded myself with the new iPhone12 Pro. After a little bit of use and weather being nice I wanted to test it’s lidar to do some surveying. So what steps I took and how did it go? Read on.

Can I use iPhone 12 Pro to scan a pile and get a volume?

iPhone 12 Pro comes equipped with a entry level lidar sensor which is capable of performing simple lidar scans. These scan can be exported into any software which can process cloud data. One of them being Trimble Business Center. This being said you can get your simple volumes quickly and easily without any need for precision survey equipment. It is not to be mistaken as a survey equipment since they perform the scans in better quality and precision.

I there an app for iPhone 12 Pro?

Yes there are numerous apps which can be used with lidar and iPhone. I have no preference which one to use. In near future I am hoping to take few of them and do some reviews for you guys. The important think to look is how easy is the app to use and most importantly how and where you can export scanned data for further processing.

How long did it take to scan pile ?

In this example I have scanned topsoil pile in my backyard and it took me from initial opening of app to final processing about 4-5 minutes. Than it took about another minute export the data into cloud. You need to get your settings right so you do not end up with holes, also it may take more time to scan the pile fully so you do not end up with holes as I did.

How long did it take to process?

From the time of the scan app processing to the time of getting volume it took few minutes to export and bring into Trimble Business Center. Than another minute to create a surface and create a report with volume. This alI I have done without the license for scanning module which probably would help more in processing the point cloud.

YouTube video:

I have used iPhone 12 pro to scan a topsoil pile in my backyard. Than exported into Trimble Business Center and ran an earthworks report to get a quick volume.


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