As we stated in a previous email, the security within n4ce has been upgraded in response to more sophisticated techniques at breaking the licencing engine and injecting malicious code. There are no recorded instances of a virus or otherwise affecting n4ce, but we have taken further steps to ensure this occurrence has a next to zero probability of ever occurring. As a result n4ce is now encrypted, and the only way it can be decrypted for running is to have either a software licence or a reprogrammed USB dongle. The reprogramming of USB dongles is done via a small program that runs after n4ce is installed.
The installation process has also been simplified so that there is only one installer now, in the form of a single MSI and CAB file. To start the installation simply double click the MSI file. The MSI also enables IT depts to pick the installer apart and customise it for their own purposes. After the installation has completed a window will pop up that requires a user to select the mode by which their particular copy of n4ce is licenced. If you use a Software licence, Networked or Local, then you just select that option and that is all there is to do. USB users will need to select the Standalone USB or Network USB options. Once this is done and the application closed, the USB dongle MUST then be reprogrammed before n4ce can start. The processes is totally automated but requires the USB dongle to be plugged into the current PC, even if it is a Network USB dongle! So if you use a Networked USB dongle with n4ce, then you may have to contact your IT dept so that they can pull it out of the server and give it to you so that it can be updated, before being put back in the server. We will make a utility download available for IT departments should they want to do this themselves however.
Extensive notes (including a step by step video) on how to install n4ce 4.20 can be found here.
New Features and Improvements
n4ce 4.20 represents a major update over the previous versions of n4ce. Below we have compiled a list of SOME of the headlines.
- Two shortcuts will be added to the Desktop. n4ce and n4ceRB. The first uses the classic user interface, the other “n4ceRB” uses a new updated Ribbon bar interface. Only the MODEL view has yet to be converted.
- For Pro and Designer users when Inserting points, making parallel features, generating points from CAD, or any other operation that can get a height from another model, the Height of the point(s) can now be extracted/interpolated from a Point Cloud. So the workflow if digitising in the Model view would be to load in an aerial image either generated from the Point cloud engine in n4ce or from 3rd party packages such as Pix4d or AgiSoft. Then as the plan positions of the points are indicated, the level will be extracted from the point cloud engine. Other features that allow heights to be determined from a point cloud are Points\ Heights Move, and Design\ Dimension Ht Interpolate & Difference. So you can add an attribute to a selection of points that shows how much a point may have moved in level between scans. An example of this change for inserting points can be found here.
- Traverse\Reduction and Volume Reports can now be saved directly to Excel with named styles. When a report window shows, click the “Export to Excel” button in the tool bar of the report window. To configure the styles, use the Styles option from the File menu in the Report window to setup the look of the saved spreadsheets. Help for this can be found here.
- Survey Models can be exported to Google KML. From the file menu in a Model, select Export\Google KML. You can then load that file into the My Places folder within Google Earth. Help for this can be found here.
- The Point cloud engine has had a huge upgrade over 4.10d.
- New icons have been built into the ribbon bar
- Groups\Classifications can now be created
- Scans can now be regrouped by overlapping scans, distance from a DTM, colour, intensity or distance from a Feature. The latter is especially useful for very quickly separating rail track data from the surrounding scan, and also to isolate the catenary. Likewise it can be used to pluck out roads from scans… Assuming in both cases you have digitised a rough route already, or have an existing feature to use as the guide. Help for this can be found here.
- When digitising in a section view a user definable grid can be shown. Plus snapping to user definable angles. Help for this can be found here.
- When digitising both Point clouds and survey data can be locked to. When locking to features options for End, Mid and closest are available. Help for this can be found here.
- New quick digitise tool for trees that automatically determines the size of the trunk and allows the ground level to be quickly selected. Help for this can be found here.
- When generating surfaces from point clouds, the resulting DTM can now be simplified to allow keep the face count low enough to load the models into AutoCAD and other 3rd party packages. Help for this can be found here.
- A range can be set about scan locations to not show or include data past a certain distance. Help for this can be found here.
- There are lots of other improvements to the 3d Viewer in general, including…
- Symbols and Shapes are now visible, so aside from text most of a survey can be seen in 3d.
- When digitising the attributes of points are easily accessible down the right hand side of the screen. If any require a measurement, just click in them and three buttons D,H & V will appear in the top right corner of the 3d view. Clicking either of these will start a measurement, the result of which will be put into the appropriate attribute field. Help for this can be found here.
- Adding image mapped 3d Pipes and Box sections to features. Enabling “String Shapes” under the Home tab will render 3d solids on all features with R= attached as an attribute to the first point. The Format is radius,number and orientation. So R=0.5,3H will plot 3 0.5d pipes arranged horizontally. A further, T or, B aligns the solids to the Top or Bottom. A, S changes the shape to a Square. Rectangular options will follow shortly. Use the “String Shapes” tab to control the look of the solids and to also Export them to OBJ and 3DS files. Help for this can be found here.
- The Tools Tab has an “Export 3D File” option that will export the current DTM to either a OBJ or 3DS file. Including its image mapping! If you want to check the export we recommend downloading and installing the free application MeshLab. It can also convert to other formats should you need them.
- The generation of images has been overhauled, as well as the usual 4k & 8k option, a new one called “Export Image Tool” provides options for creating images of any size and to also generate tiled images. Tiled or otherwise when backclothed and combined with the Image Border tool in a Model or CAD view, they can be farmed out to other CAD packages and inserted into the correct place by snapping to the CAD border n4ce creates. Help for this can be found here.
- Ht Shading can now be applied to any annotation. Ht Shading needs to be enabled in the code-table for any codes that need it, but annotation will only be shaded according to the level of the point when Ht Shading is activated under “Settings\ DTM Settings” in a Model view.
- Ht Shading schemes can now be saved and reloaded so that schemes can be setup for isopachyte models and normal models that can be loaded in seconds.
- CAD detail can now be assigned a height, or heights can be set to match that of other CAD elements in a CAD model.
- Leica users can use an Attribute with STN in is name, to set the station name of any control shots.
- Annotation in a Model is now highlighted when in a text editing mode when the point is hovered, so it is immediately obvious which text is about to be changed.