Our TLS instrument and peripheral equipment

The primary components of our TLS facility are shown and described here.

Main scanning equipment

Riegl VZ-400 terrestrial laser scanner

The VZ-400 is a very portable instrument with a fast scan rate and a scanning range up to 500 m. More information:

Nikon D700

The Nikon camera is calibrated to be mounted on top of the scanner to take pictures for true-color scans. It should never be removed from the mount.

Panasonic Toughbook laptop

The scanner is run off of a Panasonic Toughbook in the field. The software loaded on the Toughbook is Riegl's proprietary RiScan Pro.

Peripheral equipment


We have eight carbon-fiber, very lightweight tripods. The larger tripod is for mounting the scanner; seven smaller tripods are for mounting targets. In addition, we have two magnetic mounts (for use with targets when tripods are not necessary).


We have eight tribrachs for mounting targets.


We have several kinds of TLS targets:

  • 10 targets designed by UNAVCO (see photo)
  • 10 UTD targets
  • 12 Riegl reflective cylinders
  • stick-on reflectors

Kestrel 4000

The Kestrel is used to take atmospheric measurements at the time of the scan, including air temperature and barometric pressure, along with relative humidity and wind speed.

Backpacks for carrying equipment

For transporting equipment short distances in the field, we have four backpacks:

  • 3 frame packs (shown in black)
  • 1 soft frame pack (tan)

Power supplies

Honda 1000i generator

The scanner can be run off of the generator. When using the generator, it should ALWAYS be run with a surge protector in place.


We have 2 sets of 2 12-volt gel cell batteries that can be run in series to power the scanner. These are easy to transport and quieter than the generator.