The Wave of the Future?

Ben Kacyra, founder of Cyra Technologies, has an interesting vision of our industry and its future. I recently interviewed Kacyra during a visit to Cyra Technologies, the manufacturer of the Cyrax 2400 laser scanning system. Before he created Cyra, Kacyra was the CEO of Cygna Corporation, which in the 1970s and 1980s grew to be one of 100 largest engineering companies in the US. While there, Kacyra noticed a key point about the way surveying is done: data is generally collected one point at a time, whether by instrument or by GPS. Kacyra realized that enormous sums were being spent in gathering design and as-built information. In view of the ongoing revolution in design and information technology and the resultant leaps in productivity, Kacyra wanted to create something in data-gathering and presentation that would result in an order of magnitude increase in productivity.

He knew that needs had grown beyond points and lines, and that a product that could deal with "reality capture" would make the information more readily available to CAD and IT. Design and construction teams share the same data. But our workflow and methodology create bottlenecks, which affects design engineers and architects. Designs are already "digital" because they are in someone's brain; but, because our work involves reality, it must first be acquired, and then made digital. Kacyra says, "The industry will change from being tool-centric to being information-centric."

What Cyra has achieved is a system that is non-tactile, that is, the objects being located don't have to be occupied with a prism or antenna. Gathering almost 1,000 points per second, it provides data integrity with high relative accuracy, and eliminates human errors. Cyra is currently seeking ways to improve the system to reduce the size and cost, and increase functionality. For example, the current model will gather information in a 40º by 40º window for a single scan, but future models will include instruments that operate more like a total station with, among other enhancements, 360º capability.

Kacyra envisions the new instrument as providing multiple benefits for surveyors including the opening of new markets such as fly-thrus and agency presentations. The system provides new deliverables through its use of "point clouds" that can be interactively queried. Beyond the data-gathering phase, Kacyra sees the use of GIS and 3D databases in the entire life cycle of a project for operations, maintenance and inspection. Stay tuned as we continue to report on Kacyra's vision of the future.


Personal Dreams of the Future
As a boy I had four distinct dreams: to work in the woods, to fight a forest fire, to work in a lumber mill, and to be a printer. Perhaps it was the windswept terrain of central Oklahoma that whetted a desire to one day live someplace where there was trees. Maybe it was the charm of a Hectograph that set ideas into words in a junior high newspaper. Whatever the impetus, as the years passed, one by one the dreams began to take shape.

In the early 70s, upon getting out of the Army, I had an opportunity to move to northern California. The next two-year period was one of the most enjoyable of my life as I staked haul roads for the US Forest Service for timber cutting, and helped fight two forest fires. Because the Forest Service work was seasonal, I was able to find work in a redwood mill. Since then, nearly thirty years have passed. A dream to be connected to the printing industry has been fulfilled by the opportunity to serve as editor of this magazine, even though the road to get there has led my family and me to the opposite coast. But to this day I still hold a fondness for the people and the landscape of northern California. The opportunity to visit SECO, in Redding (see article on page 41) enabled me to visit that area again.

About the Author

  • Marc Cheves, LS
    Marc Cheves was a former editor of the magazine.

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