Last Updated on 25th October 2022
Digital Capital of the Middle East, Muscat, has an important role in launching digital developments that have a regional impact. Taking over from Egypt in 2021, Oman is looking to create a digital future that creates new opportunities. They aim to focus on cybersecurity, innovation, and digital capabilities. These areas of development will not only help the people of Oman, but also the wider Middle Eastern community. This article will explore the use of handheld SLAM scanners to map the Souk in Muscat.
Striking the balance of technological advances and Muscat’s rich heritage is Ms Reema Al Awor, head of Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism. Situated between the mountains and the sea, Muscat is a city with historical forts, Souk markets, and incredible architecture. Ms. Reema, on behalf of his Excellency the Minister, has made it the ministry’s mission to create digital replicas of these famous locations by embracing LiDAR technology.
The 3D digital replicas can promote tourism in Oman by creating online virtual tours, but also document historical landmarks. As well as scanning in Muscat, the technology will lead the way in scanning local villages and other locations.
Ms. Reema learned about the versatility of the GeoSLAM handheld SLAM technology from our Emirates/Oman representative Equinox Technologies. She promptly invited GeoSLAM to Oman to demonstrate the ZEB Horizon.
Scanning the Mutrah Souk
GeoSLAMs channel manager for the Middle East, Marcel Goyvaerts, headed to Muscat together with Mr. Jeevan NV CEO of Equinox Technologies, to meet with the ministry. Marcel and Jeevan captured the streets of the Souk, Mutrah Fort, the port, and surrounding monuments.
Six individual 30 minute scans were conducted over a 75,000+ square meter area, and the point clouds were merged to create one larger dataset. Walking and scanning using LiDAR meant the team could capture mixed environments including large areas, narrow streets and passageways.
The narrow streets of the Souk are alive with lots of people, vehicles, and stalls. Handheld solutions are crucial for this environment because it captures at walking speed without cumbersome equipment or lengthy setup times.
Capturing such a large area in a relatively short period of time was key for the ministry to map the Souk and Mutrah Fort. The scanner’s ease of use meant that members of the ministry will be able to easily scan the area, without the need for expert surveyors.
The final merged point clouds will be used for several solutions:
The point cloud was demonstrated at the Comex event in Muscat 2022. Flythroughs were created to show off the potential of the scanner, as well as a digital replica of the Souk.
Using GeoSLAM Draw, other departments like the engineering team can easily measure buildings, roads, or monuments.
The point cloud can serve as the basis for creating virtual reality walk-throughs of the Souk, for promoting tourism.
The decision to use handheld LiDAR scanners, a relatively new technology, shows that Muscat is taking their long-term vision of advancing technology in Oman very seriously. Ms Reema, on behalf of His Excellency the Minister, is becoming an early adopter of handheld LiDAR technology in Oman, promoting its potential in several sectors. The Ministry meanwhile knows they can count on the full support of GeoSLAM as the manufacturer and Equinox Technologies as the local representative.
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