Tag: Leapfrog

Modelling in full 3D

This is the third history blog in a six part series – Modelling in full 3D. If you missed part two, Medicine, movies and outer space!, you can find it here.

In 1996 in pursuit of more mathematically robust meshes ARANZ rekindled their close collaboration with mathematician Rick Beatson. This motivated the extension of his fast RBF methods to modelling full 3D data and a new way of describing the surfaces of objects implicitly using a ‘signed-distance’ function.

Says ARANZ Geo founder Rick Fright, “Having got the scanner working, and gathered scattered point measurements from the surface of a 3D object, we realised we had an even bigger problem of reconstructing a complete and continuous surface model. So we got back in touch with Rick Beatson.”

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Medicine, movies and outer space!

Leapfrog in Medicine, Movies and Outer Space

This is the second history blog in a six part series. If you missed part one, In the beginning, you can find it here.

In 1995, the success of the 3D ultrasound and laser scanning research prompted Rick Fright to start Applied Research Associates Ltd (ARANZ) along with friend and former fellow student Bruce McCallum (Electrical Eng.), Mark Nixon (medical doctor) and Brent Price (from Med Physics). Together they hit on the idea of a hand-held portable laser scanner, which allowed almost any solid object’s surface to be acquired and represented, initially, as a mesh of triangles.

A hand-held portable laser scanner being used on a troll model for Lord of the Rings.

A hand-held portable laser scanner being used on a troll model for Lord of the Rings.

These meshes were adequate for many applications, including the movie industry, where the scanner was very successful in computer animation and utilised in numerous films from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the Star Wars prequels.

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In the beginning

Leapfrog are excited to post for you a series of six blogs that map our company’s progress. To start off the first blog, Carrie Beckwith, talks to Rick Fright about how Leapfrog® came about – in the beginning.

The story Rick’s telling includes engineers, mathematicians, geologists  and computer science graduates, which he describes as a ‘unique blend of expertise’, many friends from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and many still actively involved in taking the product forward. I’m marvelling at the man-hours Leapfrog’s development must have accrued and the ‘ground breaking’ that went on to create the intuitive modelling tool geologists rely on today. Our conversation is unearthing a passion and excitement for developing new technology through research.

But how did this software first come about? How did something initially from the medical industry end up being so successful in mining?

In the beginning – titanium cranioplasty

Rick takes me back to 1991 and the Medical Physics & Bioengineering department of Canterbury Hospital in Christchurch New Zealand. Rick was working on a Wellcome Trust research grant to automate the design and production of titanium plates for neurosurgeons. Rick had heard about the work of another Rick (Beatson) a mathematician from the nearby University of Canterbury’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who’d developed new fast 2D methods using radial basis functions. At this time, Engineering Ph.D. student Jonathan Carr also became involved and the three set about solving the cranioplasty problem. Together they produced mathematics and software to interpolate the shape of the skull across the void of the missing area. This is basically the same way Leapfrog models topographies today.

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Optimum performance with Leapfrog projects

By Tim Schurr

Have you noticed the “.aproj_data” folder that always appears along-side your Leapfrog project file?

 aproj_data-folder in Leapfrog Geo

If you’ve ever had to move or copy a project to another location, you’ve probably come across it, opened folder using explorer and discovered a whole raft of sub-folders and files and thought “What’s all of this?  Is this really my Leapfrog project?”

.aproj_data folder beside Leapfrog project

In this article, I will explain the reason why Leapfrog saves projects in seemingly such a bizarre way, then I’ll give you a couple of tricks on how to get the best performance and reliability out of your Leapfrog projects.

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Interpolation and anisotropy

By Kirk Spragg


In addition to interpolation, Leapfrog provides two tools that give the user control over the continuity of grade in their interpolants. These are the “Global Trend” and the more advanced “Structural Trend”.

The Global Trend can be effectively used to alter the results of an interpolant.  The Global Trend  is suitable to use in situations where the underlying geology implies that grade is continuous in a planar direction over large distances. If this is not the case, and the underlying geology implies that direction of grade continuity varies over space, then Leapfrog’s Structural Trend is a more appropriate tool to use when modelling your deposit or ore body.

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