Last Updated on 25th October 2021

Transitioning Through Environments Using a Mobile Laser Scanner

Being able to seamlessly transition through environments plays a large part in mobile 3D laser mapping. Whether that’s traversing from outside to inside, room to room, above ground to underground or through a difficult area such as forests or woods. This modern approach to surveying provides users with the tools to capture accurate data at speed, whilst maximising profitability and minimising disruption to the site and its inhabitants.

Limitations of Terrestrial Laser Scanning when Transitioning Through Environments

Traditionally, scanning using a TLS (terrestrial laser scanner) meant sacrificing speed and manoeuvrability for highly accurate data. Bulky setups not only mean a user needs to be an expert in data capture, but they also need time to manoeuvre heavy tripod setups through the area they’re mapping. This poses a couple of issues:

  • It limits the types of environments a user can scan and transition through.
  • In densely populated areas a user may find it difficult to work around the general public.

The first point has been highlighted more recently during the Covid-19 pandemic, with surveyors and customers wanting to limit the amount of time they spend in close proximity. These issues can make it difficult transitioning through environments with a TLS.

Scanning with a Mobile Laser Scanner

More recently, transitioning through environments using a mobile laser scanner is much easier and safer. Furthermore, with the introduction of SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping), capturing areas that are void of GPS signal is no longer an issue. Travelling from above ground to underground, from room to room or through narrow passageways is as simple as walking with a lightweight mobile mapping scanner in your hand.

To prove this point, one of GeoSLAMs Channel Managers, Marcel Goyvaerts, was invited by the mayor of Valencia to scan an old Spanish civil war tunnel and surrounding streets above ground to create a 3D visualization. Constructed in 1938, the refugee shelters were built to protect the local population from air strikes by the Italian Air Force and Franco forces.

Scanning Above and Underground

Using GeoSLAM’s ZEB Horizon scanner, Marcel captured the busy streets above ground, before transitioning underground to scan the 145-meter tunnel. He mapped both street-level and the tunnels in one scan by simply walking with the ZEB Horizon. In less than 15 minutes, Marcel had successfully captured both the tunnel and the street without any disruption to the public.

With a collection rate of 300,000 points per second and accuracy up to 6mm, the ZEB Horizon provided a detailed digital replica with speed and ease.

“Having lived in Spain for a number of years, it was a joy to explore and gain greater insight into a significant part of Spain’s history by mapping one of the many Spanish Civil War refugee shelters. The ZEB Horizon’s flexibility allowed me to easily scan the tunnel and outbuildings from above ground, easily transitioning between the two. The level of detail we were able to capture in both environments was impressive. I successfully mapped the length of the tunnel in only one scan, collecting a complete and comprehensive dataset of this unique architectural structure.”

Marcel Goyvaerts

Channel Manager: Middle East, Northern Africa, Benelux, Iberia, India

Mobile laser scanners have changed the way we capture the world in 3D. They give users a cost effective way of quickly, accurately and safely gathering data, as well as providing the freedom to scan areas that were previously not possible to map.

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