Driver to decode data from a Zoller+Fröhlich PROFILER 9012 / 9012M / 9012A laser scanner.
Benefit of the scanner is its high-precision and high rotation speed.The scanner has a maximum scan range of 119 meters and a clear field of view of 360°.
Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The PROFILER 9012 uses laser class 1 (according to IEC 60825-1), which is eye-safe.
This scanner is only capable of scanning in so-called Profiler Mode. This means that the scanner does not rotate around a horizontal axis, like IMAGER scanners can do.
Typical application for scanning in profiler mode would be to mount the scanner fixed on the roof of a car, together with an accurate GNSS and Motion Sensor, in order to scan roads, railways, tunnels, towns, bridges, etc.
For mobile mapping it is mandatory to interface the PROFILER 9012 with a Time Synchronization (PPS) pulse from an external GNSS receiver, in order to time-tag all data with UTC.
|Driver||Z+F PROFILER9012 200Hz||Interface Type||Freebase/TCP/IP/UDP||Driver Class Type||Freebase|
|UTC Driver||Yes||Input / Output||Input and Output||Executable||DrvLaser.exe PROFILER_9012|
Data is always broadcast via UDP network. It is mandatory to use a fast (Gigabit) network card, due to the enormous amount of data to be expected. Do not use a wireless network for real-time scanning.
The actual raw binary data-stream is in so-called ZFS format, a data format defined by company Zoller+Fröhlich. This document does not describe the ZFS format.
The driver is configured as a multibeam system and creates XYZ 'multibeam' observations.
('multibeam' versus 'laser scanning'-terminology: ping = scan (i.e. 360° around), footprint = beam = pixel, swath = line)
The number of beams (pixels) depends on the on-line used settings, like (user-definable) range mask, vertical angle mask, intensity mask, etc. (see Controller Setup below). The maximum theoretical number of beams per scan is 20480. Under normal conditions you would expect values of 2000 to 5000 pixels.
The number of scans (lines) per second is also a user-definable setting and can be 50, 100 or 200 Hz.
Besides the relative XYZ co-ordinate of every laser pixel, the driver also decodes the returned intensity. Two intensity values are decoded and stored: a scanner and surface dependent intensity and a so-called normalized intensity.
The system dependent intensity value depends on the surface being hit, the angle, the open sky conditions (Sunlight, rain, etc), etc. E.g scanning into open sky area results in 'hits' with low intensity values less than ~ 3000 - 5000.
The normalized intensity means that a surface scanned at close distance should return the same intensity as when being scanned at a distance further away.
Qinsy stores the two intensity values as follows:
- The system dependent intensity value is stored as Intensity, a floating number between 0.0 and 5000000.
- The normalized intensity value is stored as Quality, an integer number between 0 and 255.
So if you color code your point cloud on Intensity, use a color map scale of 0 - 5000000, and if you color code on Quality, use a range of 0 - 255.
Communication with the scanner goes via the fast 1Gigabit LAN network.
The LAN IP address of the laser unit can be seen on the Remote Box (which must be connected to the scanner through port P4):
The LAN IP address of your computer's network should be in same range (i.e. that the last digit must be different):
Use for the Subnet mask the values 255.255.255.0
It is recommended to check the network connection between your computer and the laser unit before commencing any scan operation.
You may do this by using the ping command from the Windows Command Prompt:
Select Start from the Windows Task bar, Run..., Cmd <Enter>, and 'ping' the host name of your laser unit.
The network connection is okay when you receive a reply three times within a few milliseconds.
Additionally you may use a standard web browser:
Enter the IP Address of the scanner in the address field of your web browser, e.g. 172.20.4.100.
If there is a valid network connection the homepage of the scanner will be opened:
Useful sub pages are
By default, the driver will time-stamp the data when received at the network port. However, due to network characteristics in general, this will result in inaccurate timing. Therefore timing via Time Synchronization pulse from GPS is highly recommended.
This means that your PROFILER 9012 must be interfaced to a GNSS receiver via port P8. Please refer to the User Manual that comes with the scanner for the exact pin assignment of connector P8. Make sure that at least the following pins are connected:
|RS232||Tx (ZDA)||->||Pin 8|
If connected properly, the laser unit will decode the time-field from the NMEA ZDA message in order to get the exact UTC time, and will then increment its internal Counter1 with every pulse.
If you refresh this page (F5) regularly, then you must see that Counter1 value is incremented by one every second:
First, internally the driver is treated as a multibeam system, creating multibeam 'XYZ' observations, therefore you will find the laser system drivers under category type Multibeam Echosounders.
1. Edit System Wizard
Add a Multibeam Echosounder system to your template setup, and select driver "Laser Scanning - Z+F PROFILER 9012 200Hz".
- Enter the same (UDP) port number as the cmd_port number of the scanner, normally set to 6100. The driver will always communicate (sending and receiving commands) via this command port number of the scanner. The real-time data stream is received via this port number plus one, so normally 6101. Status information from the scanner is received via this command port number plus two, so normally 6102. An advanced user may use the /CONFIG sub-page in the web browser for viewing and/or modifying the current port settings (select category Interface).
- Important is to enter for the IP Address the address of the scanner, as seen on the Remote Box connected to the laser unit through P4.
2. Multibeam Echosounder Parameters
Important are the Transducer Location (Node) and Mounting Angles (offsets) on the second wizard page.
- The Transducer Location and Mounting Angles are important.
When the laser unit is mounted normally, with the scanner pointing backwards (away from the driving or sailing direction), you should leave the offset values close to zero:
When the scanner is pointing forward (in driving or sailing direction), you should set the heading offset to 180°.
- Set the Max. beams per Ping value to 40000. The actual number of beams will be variable, and depends for example on the on-line used settings, and on the targets being scanned.
The actual number of beams will be variable, and depends for example on the used on-line settings and on the targets being scanned.
3. Echosounder Accuracy Parameters
- You may leave all values on the third wizard page at their defaults.
4. Multibeam Echosounder Corrections
- You may leave all values on the last wizard page at their defaults.
Connect (using TCP/IP) to the so-called LRC Server of the Laser Scanner. Make sure that the IP address entered in Database Setup is correct.
Selected action will be send to the laser unit, immediately after hitting the Apply or OK button. You must be connected first in order to select an action.
|Profiler Scan Mode||
Select the Profiler Scan Mode, 6 possible combinations of Speed (vertical mirror rotating) and Accuracy (vertical angle increment)
Notice that other combinations are not possible
Leave to 1 (default) to accept all incoming scans (50 or 100 scans / second).
To use every n-th scan only, use a value greater than 1.
For example, a value of 5, in combination with a profiler scan mode set to 50 Hz, will result in 10 scans / second.
|Vertical Area Selection||
The scanner mirror rotates 360 degrees every line at high speed.
0° means looking down, 180° means looking up, 90° looking port, 270° looking starboard.
Select the required scheme from the list.
Excluded data due to this setting will not be recorded.
Select the required scheme from the list.
Excluded data due to this setting will not be recorded.
|Minimum Range||Set the minimum required range in meters. Valid Values: 0 to 119 meters.
Using this setting is recommended, but be careful: Blocked data d/t this setting (i.e. all pixels less than this range) will not be recorded!
|Maximum Range||Set the maximum allowed range in meters. Valid Values: 0 to 119 meters.
Using this setting is recommended, but be careful: Blocked data d/t this setting (i.e. all pixels more than this range) will not be recorded!
Set the minimum required intensity (system dependent) value.
It is recommended to use at least a minimum intensity of 1000 ~ 5000. Returns with these kind of low intensity values is most likely noise, e.g. open sky area or water surface.
|Maximum Intensity||Set the maximum allowed intensity (system dependent) value.
Values are scanner dependent so this is not the normalized intensity. For the PROFILER these values are 0 - 5,000,000.
Notice that blocked data d/t this setting will not be recorded.
|Store Laser Location||If enabled, an additional pixel with zero XYZ co-ordinate will be added to each line scan, in order to indicate the exact laser scanner location in the resulting point cloud.
This extra pixel will always have beam number 0, and its intensity and quality values will be zero.
When enabled, the scanner needs a valid NMEA time message and PPS pulse from an external GPS receiver.
You may select No for test situations (e.g being in-house, no valid GPS/PPS signal, demo's, etc).
When changing settings, the theoretically expected points/sec will be calculated, which should not exceed the recommended maximum points/sec.
The expected points/sec depends on the selected Profiler Scan Mode, the Scan Interval, the Vertical Area Selection and a possible Sector Reduction selection.
Qinsy handles only approximately 250 thousand measurements per second. However, this value can be safely much higher but depends highly on the used hardware.
An advanced user may overrule this limitation of max 250 thousand points per sec: Disable the Validation Check in order to ignore the warning and continue.
The Generic Display can be used to show the numerical values for the number of beams (pixels) being scanned per ping (scan), the number of beams being scanned per second, the ping rate (scan rate in Hz), range values, etc.
Important values to monitor are:
- Item Ping Age.
This value should be small, around zero, especially when setting 'Use PPS' is enabled.
- Item Status Flag
This value should be 2 when setting 'Use PPS' is enabled. In the example layout below the Status Flag item has a translation property for showing the status as readable text).
You may use the attached example Generic Layout file as example: Copy this layout (Use 'Save Link As...') to your current Project's Settings\Display folder and open it using a new Generic Display.
You only have to select the correct laser system as defined in your template setup.
The PROFILER 9012 has the following features and limitations:
- Minimum vertical angle resolution 0.018°
- Vertical spin rate (speed) of the mirror is 50 Hz (3 scan modes), 100 Hz (2 scan modes) or 200Hz (1 scan mode).
- Scan rate can be up to 1 million points per second.
- Vertical field of view is 360°. There is no physical scanning mask once the reference plate is in.
- Maximum range is 119 meters. Minimum range is 0.3 meter.
- The raw intensity value is stored in a Qinsy database as Intensity (0.0 - 5000000.0). The normalized intensity value is stored as Quality (0 - 255).
- Laser class 1 is used, which is eye-safe. However, it is never recommended to look into the mirror while scanning
Real-time Performance Monitoring
Due to the enormous amount of data to be expected while scanning and recording, it is recommended to keep the system overhead as low as possible.
Here you'll find some tips and tricks in order to fine-tune your setup.
However, these are not strict rules, because each project is different and depends on the current situation and hardware being used. Your goal should be to keep your system CPU usage as low as possible.
Make use of Solid State Drive (SSD), or fast SATA hard drive (7200 - 10000 rpm).
Your network card speed should never be lower than the scanner's network speed. Use a network card that can be configured for 100Mbit or 1Gbit speed. Do not use USB Networking Adapters, because this may result in loss of data when huge amounts of data are being broadcast.
Disable Virus Scanner, or at least the setting 'Scan Files when Writing/Reading to/from disk'.
Task Manager CPU
General Task Manager CPU Usage should be less than 50%. CPU load of each display must be less than 10-15%.
Make sure that the 'Working Set (Memory)' column for process Multibeamer.exe and/or DrvResultOut.exe is not constantly increasing, especially during recording.
Laser Device Settings
During project preparation, establish the optimum settings in order to achieve the required results.
The most benefit you will gain from setting the Scan Speed, Scan Rate, Scan Resolution, Angle Resolution, Vertical Area Selection, Scan Area Selection and Sector Reduction as well as possible.
Especially the Vertical or Scan Area Selection is very important. Make use of Mask schemes to define areas which you don't want to scan.
Raw Multibeam Display
Open only one Raw Multibeam Display.
Open only one Navigation Display.
|3D Point Cloud Display||
It is not recommended to use a 3D Point Cloud Display.
If you do so, make sure your hardware contains a high-spec video card.
Under Sensor settings set the Time window setting to a short period, e.g. 10 sec
- Sounding Grid
- Dynamic Surface
Storage to a Sounding Grid is not recommended, and should be purely for display purposes: e.g. for checking the scan coverage or for showing the 95% Confidence Level statistics.
If you do want to see the scan coverage then it is advisable to store to a sounding grid and not to the dynamic surface
Do not use a small cell-size, preferably not less than 1.0 meter.
If you notice in the Navigation Display that the real-time sounding grid is drawn/updated with a delay, then please increase the cell-size or disable the storage completely.
Offline (Replay) there are no limitations and you may use small cell-sizes, e.g. 0.10 meter.
In Replay there are no limitations as mentioned above: use as many displays as you like, store to sounding grids with small cell-sizes, update the dynamic surface, etc.
All this may only affect the replay speed, but the data integrity of your final DTM processing files should be fine.
|Controller Computation Setup||
While working online, disabling the laser system in your Computation Setup will have the most effect on the performance
Footprints will not be geo-referenced, nor corrected for motion, heading or timing in real-time. This will save a tremendous amount of CPU power and memory usage.
This tip allows you to get the most out of your scanner: maximum scanning speed and maximum scanning rate, without the risk of losing scans due to performance issues.
To create a final DTM and/or Sounding Grid file you need to Replay the recorded databases afterwards.
Daily Laser Log File
All user actions, system information and reported errors are logged in a daily laser log file which can be found in the current project's LogFiles subfolder.
The filename convention for this ASCII log-file is <System Name> DD-MM-YYYY.log, so every day there will be a new one.
Note that all time stamps in this log file are by default in UTC. An advanced user may change this to local time zone (LTZ) by changing the registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\QPS\QINSy\8.0\Drivers\DrvLaser\Settings\TimeLogFileUtc value from 1 to 0.