Working with Images in Trimble Business Center

I had an interesting set of conversations with an end user yesterday relating to some cool work that he was doing with the Trimble SX10 and Point Clouds, however a few things came up in conversation that I thought would be worth capturing here as there are likely more of you out there having the same issues

**Orthophotos Issue"
The user expressed that he could not import and use Orthophotos generated by TBC from the Cutting Plane view in the TBC Plan View. They were basically slicing a vertical plane through the data they were measuring and using the TBC Ortho Photo functions to generate an Orthophoto from the cutting plane view. They then wanted to import the Orthophoto into TBC’s Plan View as an image, so that they could dimension up the objects they were measuring and then generate dynaviews to lay out a sheet drawing of the Orthophoto and Dimensions as their final deliverable.

When you generate an Orthophoto, it creates to files the image file itself in e.g. TIFF format and a second file with a .TXT extension with the same file name as the image that carries the image corner coordinates.

If you use Drag and Drop or the File Import command to import the image, you will see that it is listed as an Orthophoto, and as a result if you import that into TBC, it imports it as per the .TXT file coordinates and places it in the correct 3D geographic location, however that will be in the vertical plane in this case, not a lot of help when you want to use it in plan view for dimensioning purposes.

You have a couple of choices here if you want to use it as a 2D image in plan view

  1. You can edit the .TXT file and switch the coordinates around or modify them so that the Ortho Image is brought in in the XY plane to scale but drawn with the Z axis as the Y axis in TBC - you will need to determine the base line length between the XY pairs for the image corners and then enter e.g. 0,0 for the Bottom Left, XX,0 for the Bottom Right (where XX is the baseline length of the image), and then enter XX,Z for the Top Right corner and 0,Z for the Top Left Corner. In all cases you can enter 0 for the elevation field.

  2. You can rename the .TXT file so it has a different name to the image and a different extension than .TXT and then when you drag and drop or import the image it will be seen as an unreferenced image and you can then use the place image or georeference image command to place it and scale it in the plan view.

Now you can use the standard CAD and Drafting tools to create the dimensioned drawing and create the sheet layouts for your final deliverables.

Capture Image Issue
The user mentioned that they had to use the generate Orthophoto process to create the image of the cutting plane view because the Capture Image command did not capture a high enough quality image that they could use in the plan view.

So I reviewed the process with their data and this is a process issue and also a hardware issue - i.e. the Computer and screen that you are working with and how you set up the display prior to capturing the image with the Capture View command will play a big part in the quality of the output.

The thing to know and understand here is that we can only capture the quality of the source - we cannot improve on that - so if the source is poor quality then the result will also be poor quality - it cannot be better than the source. Also understand that the output image formats of JPEG, TIFF, PNG etc. all have different constraints. Some image formats like JPEG don’t have transparency so all Pixels will be colored on output even White or Black ones around the job. Most standard image formats have a maximum number of Pixels in a single image - you can find those on Wikipedia for example, so if you take a huge area of a site and try to create a single image at the highest resolution, the image will get downgraded to stay within the Pixel limit of the image format, so be aware of the maximum geographical limits of a single image at the resolution you require - to get the highest quality you may need to define some plotboxes and capture 2 or more images to get the highest quality output.

Here are some tips

If you have several screens, work on the largest of your screens and the one with the highest resolution to get the best possible output

When working on that best screen, make the view you are capturing as large as possible to fit the image that you are trying to create - resize the view to frame the image at that largest size possible.

Make the image content as large as possible in the frame of the view

Now use the Capture Image command to capture the view at the highest resolution of 300 DPI. Bear in mind that a 27 inch 4 k Monitor will have a DPI of ~167 DPI so it will not get better than that, you may have more pixels per inch but it will not be higher resolution than the monitor resolution which is creating the image.

If you are not using a Plotbox (which you cannot use in Cutting Plane anyway), then remember that the width of the view x the Height of the View x DPI Setting will be the number of Pixels that you will create in the image, and you want to make sure that that will fall below the limits of the image format you are using - If you output an image and it looks poor quality then you may want to capture two images rather than one etc.

When I checked the Capture Image using this method vs the Orthophoto generated by other means they were close to the same, and for sure the quality was no different

Plan View Photos Do Not Work In Dynaviews
This is an incorrect statement - they do work in Dynaviews. In this case the user also commented that they could not get the images they had in Plan View to show up in Dynaviews on the Sheet View. We walked through the Sheet creation process, and the images showed up as expected - we are still looking into what the user was doing wrong / or what was stopping the images from showing up in the Sheet View and out onto PDF Plot Sheets - but they do work and if you are having issues please call us for help.

This was a great practical exercise that helped streamline the users work processes and hopefully short cut a lot of process steps that were creating errors and defects in their deliverable results.

Hope that this helps others out there with the same questions