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Scanning a Caribbean hospital with the ZEB Horizon to create a BIM model




St. Elisabeth


Square Meters

Scan time
Scan time

20 minutes
per scan



Constructed in 1855, with the help of the Franciscan sisters, the St. Elisabeth hospital has played an important role in the Otrobanda City district on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, for over 160 years. The large hospital served as the main hub for medical care, and was historically used as a place of healing for other island nations nearby.

Having been deemed no longer fit for purpose according to international standards in 2011, it was decided that a new hospital would be constructed next to St Elisabeth’s, and in 2019 the Curaçao medical center was opened to the public. St. Elisabeth hospital was closed in November 2019, after 164 years of service to the island.

In 2021, Ellen de Brabander, from Urban Studio, was appointed by the survey bureau ‘Landmark’ with the task of scanning the hospital, in anticipation of renovation projects. Ellen chose the ZEB Horizon for the task, and later created an accurate BIM model using the point cloud data. In addition, Ellen is working on creating a virtual tour of the hospital, so it can be entered and explored from anywhere in the world.

Due to the large complex nature of the building, with several floors and many individual rooms, the task of capturing and measuring the hospital was an enormous one, in terms of time frame. Originally Ellen was going to scan the building using a total station, however because the hospital is broken into 6 sub-buildings, an average of 3 floors per sub-building and many individual rooms per floor, the total station was quickly ruled out. Furthermore, with difficult to access areas, the bulky nature of a tripod-based system would not be ideal for capturing the hospital in its entirety, or fast enough.

After assessing the options, the team decided the best way to capture the building would be to use a mobile 3D scanner, due to the lightweight nature, speed of capture and ease of use. Ellen chose a ZEB Horizon for the job and was able to seamlessly walk through the hospital’s complex buildings, capturing data as she moved.

The 3D scanner of GeoSLAM was able to reduce the time of the measurement and as a result the delivery time was met. The measurement time would normally take several months, which was reduced to days

Having decided on the ZEB Horizon, she was able to capture both the interior and exterior of St Elisabeth’s hospital in just 6 full working days, which was an extremely short amount of time compared to traditional measuring equipment. 52 scans were conducted in total, at approximately 20 minutes per scan and the area covered (including exterior and interior) was 22,346 square meters. The complex nature of some of the spaces were captured effortlessly because of the manoeuvrability and compactness of the scanner.

The scans were processed and merged using GeoSLAM Hub before they were converted in Autodesk Recap and taken into Autodesk Revit to be modelled. The model of the hospital was sent to the client and the process from capture to model was documented in a video, which can be seen here:

3D BIM model of Caribbean hospital

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    Creating a digital twin of Cistercian Landscapes



    Scan time

    3.5 hours


    Franconia, Germany


    3 hectares


    Cistercian Landscapes

    With the adoption of digital technologies such as laser scanning, photogrammetry and other digital tools becoming ever more prevalent in conservation and preservation; it is easy to see why, in 2017, the University of Bamberg launched a new master’s degree, ‘Digital Technologies in
    Heritage Conservation’. Spearheaded by Professor Mona Hess, the course covers the integration and adoption of digital technologies in heritage conservation and its further development, as well as raising the profile of this research topic. In addition to running the course, Professor Hess and her team often employ their skills and expertise in the field, creating 3D digital models for preservation purposes, to build knowledge of certain areas or to educate a wider audience about a new culture.

    The 3D recording is a methodological tool for the representation and interpretation of cultural heritage, landscape and architecture, to build knowledge, create meaning and make culture accessible to all.

    The Scan
    In 2020, Professor Hess was approached by ‘Cisterscapes | Cistercian Landcapes in Central Europe’ and was tasked with contributing to the digital recordings of 2 gardens. The scan would focus on the baroque agricultural buildings with designed gardens; Ebracher Hof in Mainstockheim and Ebracher Hof in Oberschwappach, both properties of the Ebrach Monastery.

    The aim of the scan was to create reliable information, assess the landscapes development status and design management plans for maintenance and conservation. Professor Hess, accompanied by PHD student Carla Ferreyra, visited the sites in October 2020 to conduct the scans. With approximately 3 hectares of land to cover, the team needed a SLAM scanning solution that was quick, easy to use, suitable for both indoor/outdoor use and a solution with reliable results. Professor Hess chose GeoSLAMs ZEB Horizon with the ZEB Pano, because of the rapid data acquisition throughout the site up to 100m.

    Other laser scanning techniques were considered in the planning process, however none quite provided the freedom the ZEB Horizon did, often
    with restrictions around mobility and time. In September 2020, a similar scan had taken place using a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) of a specific
    area of the Mainstockheim garden. In comparison, the GeoSLAM scanner reduced the time and labour costs when completing the scan. The team were able to complete their scan of Mainstockheim (including an interior space of the baroque building) in just under 3 hours.

    In Oberschwappach, the total scan time was approximately 30 minutes. Their only concern during the scan was encountering the general public, however due to the lightweight nature of the ZEB Horizon and Pano, it was easy to avoid busier parts of the garden. Where they did encounter other guests (due to their curiosity over the scanner) Professor Hess and Carla simply repeated the scan of that specific area. All in all, the scan was a success, and Professor Hess and Carla were able to deliver on their task.

    The Results
    With the completion of the scan, not only does Professor Hess have fresh scan data that can be used to educate the next generation on how
    digital technologies can be used in heritage conservation, but they are also being used to extract 2D information, such as orthophotos, plans
    and sections in 1:50 scale and BIM models. Furthermore, videos of the scan were created – these serve as informational and educational
    pieces of content. Finally, the scans serve to raise awareness of these historic gardens, promote a scientifically accurate recording and also makes the heritage accessible to all. Professor Hess is currently using the scanner and scans for research & teaching, and she has observed that a lot of her students are enthusiastic about the speed of the process.

    Looking Forward
    In 2021 Professor Hess is looking to extend the project further at Ebrach Abbey and the gardens, to contribute to the Cistercian Cultural Heritage
    project. Additionally, she is looking to create a digital twin model of a historic city using the ZEB Horizon, to research semantic 3D city models with
    information about urban heritage in the project ‘BIM to Twin’.

    Scanning on the Istrian Peninsula






    1100m x

    Scan time
    Scan time

    20 minutes
    per scan



    Whether you are cruising down the Adriatic coast, visiting the famous Game of Thrones filmsets in Dubrovnik or experiencing some of Croatia’s famous cities; with visitors to Croatia more than doubling since 2010, tourism has become an important part of the Croatian economy.

    In the North sits the Istrian peninsula, a place known for its beauty, history, amazing food, and a place tourists flock to year on year both domestically and internationally. A sharp increase in visitors has meant that tourism sector has needed to adapt to the exponential growth.

    The Maistra group is one of Croatia’s leading tourist companies. They manage 18 hotels, 11 tourist villages and 6 campsites in sought out destinations such as Rovinj, Vrsar, Zagreb and Dubrovnik. With so much property to manage, they need quick and efficient ways to keep their site documentation up to date. In early 2021 they approached GeoSLAMs Croatian dealer, Geo centar, requesting a scan of one of their campsites in Rovinj on the Istrian peninsula.

    ZEB Horizon | Scanning in Rovinj

    Due to the size of the site, 1100m x 700m, the team at Geo Centar opted to tackle the scan using GeoSLAMs ZEB Horizon, plus aerial photogrammetry. The aim of the survey was to create up to date campsite documentation in the form of 2D vector maps, high resolution 2D raster maps, georeferenced imagery, and a digital terrain model with contours. Due to the campsites age and need to modernisation, the documentation will serve as a reference for design purposes.

    Combining both high resolution orthophotos of the area with the point cloud from the ZEB Horizon, the team were able to capture data quickly, accurately and without disruption. By utilising the walk-and-scan method of capturing data, they were able to make light work of the task.

    Being able to walk and scan is a true blessing in such situations since any other scanning method is either much slower or much more expensive.

    10 scans were conducted in total, mainly focusing on buildings, terrain covered with vegetation and other objects that would be tough to capture with aerial photography. Each scan took approximately 20 minutes, so the team were able to cover the entire 1100m x 700m in just over 3 hours. Using the scans, the team were able to extract roads, sports fields, fences, stairs buildings and roads. Finally, the team took photos of important object using the ZEB-Cam.

    GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon’s long range, strong SLAM algorithms and ease of use make it the perfect tool for this job.

    Post Scan

    During the scan, the team used a survey grade GNSS receiver, to georeference the data. Utilising GeoSLAMs adjust to control feature, in GeoSLAM Hub, the team were able to accurately georeference the scans, enabling them to correct any trajectory drifts, that may have occurred during the scan, ensuring accurate and quality data was delivered to the client.

    In addition, the team were able to georeference the images taken with the ZEB-Cam, open them in GeoSLAM Draw, which was then used to export the web version (HTML) of the top view layout containing the location of the images. This HTML was easily shared with investors and engineers working on the same project, providing a visual impression.

    The pointcloud data was exported to 3rd party software, where the team were able to create the documentation and maps for their client.


    The team were successfully able to map the campsite and extract the data needed to create high quality survey maps, a digital terrain model and contours, which will now be used to modernise the campsite.

    Scanning a cavity with the ZEB Horizon


    Facility, Germany




    70m Deep

    Scan time
    Scan time




    GeoSLAMs German dealer, Laserscanning Europe, were recently tasked with scanning a 70m deep cavity in a mine 500m below the earths surface. Using the ZEB Horizon on a cradle, Laserscanning Europe were able to successfully and safely capture the data, and this is their account of the job.

    Data captured by Laserscanning Europe

    Scanning with the ZEB Horizon | Words by Laserscanning Europe

    The object of measurement is located in the Hattorf/Wintershall mining facility of the company K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH. This is a cavity (underground, vertical conveyor system) about 500m below the earth’s surface with a depth of 70m.

    The cavity no longer has the original storage volume due to material deposits from years of operation. The environment is dusty and it is expected that material will be deposited within the conveyor system at any time. In addition, the cavity is not accessible to humans from any opening and access is only possible through 1m diameter openings.

    The objective was to obtain a three-dimensional survey of the conveyor system with highest possible resolution for inspection of the systems condition. Furthermore, strict compliance with all work safety regulations, with minimal risk for the measuring team, was required.

    For this job, a mobile laser scanner was used. Thanks to its specifications, the GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon is ideally suited for the special conditions underground. The scanner is also suitable for surveying a cavity that is only accessible from above through a narrow shaft.

    The scanner was mounted on a cradle, which was modified to minimise rotational movements when lowered. A 50m rope was attached to the cradle, which was used to lower the measurement system into the cavity.

    Furthermore, trained members of the mine rescue team were on site to provide security and enable the scanner to be lowered and retrieved safely.

    Measurement Procedure


    Preparation of the survey: mounting of the scanner on the cradle and mounting of the rope system for lowering and raising the scanner


    Starting the measurement at the upper end of the opening to the cavity


    Lowering of the scanner, 50m deep, while the ZEB Horizon captures data


    Raising the scanner, 50m high, while the ZEB Horizon captures data


    Finishing the scanning process at the upper end of the opening to the cavity


    Ascent from the mine and analysis of the scan data in the office

    Workflow of the analysis

    Following the survey, the scan data was processed using the GeoSLAM HUB software. The raw data, i.e. the processing of the point cloud from the data of the laser sensor and the IMU, is automated as much as possible. In the case that a scan was not automatically processed (e.g. because few geometric changes are found in the object space), the focus of the SLAM algorithm can be influenced by adjusting various parameters. Once the data has been run through GeoSLAM Hub, a complete point cloud of the cavity is available in .laz format. All other common point cloud formats can also be exported with little effort.

    Since the scanner could only be lowered linearly on the rope, the earth deposits shadow smaller areas inside the cavity.


    The result of this scanning is impressive. This cavity, which is not accessible to humans, was successfully surveyed with the help of the GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon. The point cloud documents the dimensions of the cavity according to the requirements. Further missions with the GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon with similar objectives are already being planned and implemented.

    Virtual Singapore – creating a dynamic 3D city model




    100 hours




    376 ground
    floor void



    Singapore is home to some of the most profitable financial services, manufacturing and oil-refining corporations in the world. But with its accomplishments come some very specific challenges for a city-state which is limited by space but still demanding growth.

    Determined to future-proof Singapore’s success, the country has embarked on one of the most ambitious digital twinning projects the world has ever seen – creating a dynamic 3D city model and collaborative data platform, including 3D maps of the region.

    At the initial stage of the project it quickly became apparent that aerial imagery alone would not be able to capture ‘void decks’ – open spaces typically found on the ground floor of the city’s apartment blocks. These areas, which are sometimes underneath the tower block structure, are used for everything from games areas, bicycle parking, hosting wedding receptions and wakes, and, as estates grow, facilities such as shops, medical centres and even schools.

    In the face of fierce competition, GeoSLAM’s ZEB Revo was selected as the most innovative and efficient solution to collect data from these important community spaces.

    A huge time saving exercise which would ordinarily have taken 40 times longer using traditional surveying methods

    With a handheld “go-anywhere” ZEB Revo, field teams quickly captured a dense and accurate point cloud of an entire void deck, which was then used to model the deck geometry and incorporate this into the existing building models.

    376 buildings with void decks were scanned using the ZEB Revo, taking approximately 100 hours – an enormous time-saving exercise which would ordinarily have taken up to 40 times longer using traditional surveying methods.

    The ZEB Revo is often used alongside terrestrial hardware as the products are highly complementary. The data output can be easily combined through geo-referencing or scan-to-scan matching and then used to build complete 3D models. In this instance, the combination delivered highly detailed and rapid results while significantly minimising costs too.

    Beautiful laser show at the marina bay waterfront in singapore

    Virginia Tech scan WW1 battlefield terrain in France


    Vauquois, France

    Scan time

    Three times faster than terrestrial scanners


    Several Kilometers


    Battlefield Tunnels



    Mapping WW1 Tunnels in Vauquois, France

    The Vauquois battlefield in France tells a little-known story of mining warfare during World War I. This area went through 4 years of combat which saw the hilltop village of Vauquois completely destroyed. In addition, French and German troops dug miles of tunnels under each other’s positions. This meant they could plant explosive mines to ‘bomb’ the enemy from below. Consequently, this bombing left underground WWI tunnels in Vauquois.

    The WWI tunnels in Vauquois must be experienced first-hand to understand the difficulties and despair of living deep underground. Moreover, in wet, cold and cramped conditions for days at a time. Of course, not everyone can travel to France and crawl through the remaining tunnels in person. A group of researchers at Virginia Tech brought the battlefield to classrooms and museums with the help of reality capture and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

    The WWI Tunnel’s Extensive Cramped Spaces

    Combining efforts of the University Libraries, the Department of Visual Arts and numerous other disciplines, the Visualising History team travelled to Vauquois with funding from a federal grant in 2016. Over 10 days, they used traditional static scanning methods to capture details of the battlefield terrain.

    However, when they attempted to scan inside the tunnels, their progress slowed down considerably as there were tight spaces that their scanners could not get into, which made the data capture process extremely time-consuming.

    Scanning difficult to access areas with the ZEB Horizon

    Before their next trip to France, the team acquired a 3D handheld laser scanner, GeoSLAM’s ZEB Horizon, with the hopes of making their time on-site more time efficient.

    Due to the ZEB Horizon’s ease of use and speed of capture, the team collected scan data inside the tunnels more than three times faster than with the traditional stationary scanner. The time it took to scan the tunnels was crucial, as they were working on a budget, and the ZEB Horizon enabled them to do more with the time and money they had available. They also used the ZEB Horizon above ground, scanning the narrow trenches, wide bomb craters, and a church foundation.

    The ZEB Horizon also proved to be more efficient as its software processes the data into a point cloud quickly. This meant that the team where able to see where data was missing, and go back and collect it, whilst still on-site. This created a much more accurate and complete virtual environment.

    The ZEB Horizon was a gamechanger in terms of the speed of data acquisition.

    Building the WWI Tunnels with the ZEB Horizon’s datasets

    The Virginia Tech team engaged the expertise of students and faculty from numerous departments – Visual Arts, History, Education, Computer Science, Mining, Engineering, and Cinema – to build a life-size model of a tunnel and generate the virtual environment of the battlefield. This allows students wearing VR headsets to ‘walk’ through the scene, experiencing it with both sight and touch.

    The speed and accuracy of the ZEB Horizon are game changers for educational and historic preservation VR projects like this because of time and budgetary restraints. VR data processing is extremely time consuming, which means time saved scanning in the field makes grant money go farther in the computer lab. The result is a more realistic and believable experience.

    Going further with 3D laser scanning

    The Virginia Tech Visualizing History team is not stopping with creating educational experiences from their 3D data collection. They are beginning to apply their VR capabilities to other commercial applications of mobile laser scanning.  

    Smarter Spaces use GeoSLAM to scan hydroelectric dam




    1 hour




    3,000 ft



    Canadian 3D geospatial experts Smarter Spaces engaged in a partnership with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to laser scan a tunnel in a hydroelectric dam – producing a point cloud model to be overlaid with photogrammetry.

    The Grand Falls Generating Station is a hydroelectric dam built in 1931 on the Saint John River in the Canadian province of New Brunswick and is operated by the NB Power corporation. The dam’s tunnel is shut down every 4 years for maintenance, inspection, and future life cycle planning.

    This presented Smarter Spaces with the opportunity to utilise the mobile, handheld GeoSLAM ZEB Revo to scan the tunnel – creating an accurate point cloud model. In four years’ time the process will be repeated – allowing for the first side-by-side comparisons of the tunnel’s performance to be made.

    In addition to this, NB Power has started exploring whether to build a 100-megawatt generating station in Grand Falls to produce more clean energy. The corporation is carrying out environmental and geotechnical studies, site tests, and consultations with First Nations and local residents before applying for an Environmental Impact Assessment later this year.

    It was a simple case of ‘walking and scanning’ through the tunnel environment

    The tunnel is approximately 3,000 linear feet in length and, because of its unique geometry, proposed an interesting set of challenges to scan. The tunnel environment was found to contain a lot of moisture – with a small stream running through the base. The IP67-rated ZEB Revo – which began life in mining environments – is rugged enough for such environments. The tunnel was dark, visibility was low, and walking conditions were slippery and wet. Smooth-sided surfaces also cause data collection issues for mobile scanners.

    Tunnels can often prove challenging environments for SLAM given they are low on features. The SLAM used by GeoSLAM performs even in this difficult condition.

    To overcome the risk of data slippage, 4 foot-high pylons were placed every 10 feet in random locations throughout the tunnel. This has the effect of ‘breaking up’ the monotony of the smooth-sided tunnel walls, ensuring that no data slippage occurs.

    The scan data was processed in GeoSLAM Hub software to filter, subsample and merge multiple data sets together. The final models and datasets were sent to the University of New Brunswick to support an engineering graduate with their thesis research.

    Surveying private property for as-built




    2.5 hours




    20,000 sq/ft



    “We were tasked with surveying a vast private house in order to generate accurate as-built construction drawings for renovation. The unique challenge was that the 20,000 sq. ft Santa Barbara residence was occupied at the time, requiring the survey to be completed quickly and in an unobtrusive manner.

    PPM (Precision Property Measurements) chose the ZEB Revo over other terrestrial scanners for our residential projects because of the speed and volume of data acquisition at exactly the level of accuracy required by our clients.

    In order to keep disruption to residents to a minimum, we decided to tackle the task in two swift scans over two days. The first scan consisted of data collection of the extensive ground floor and communal areas, and took around 90 minutes to complete. The private, bedroom wing was off limits on this day.

    The second scan incorporated these sleeping quarters, as well as gathering plenty of overlap from the lower floors to enable the 2 scans to be merged. After just 140 minutes of scanning, the entire house had been surveyed.

    We’ve always been confident in our ability to keep our projects to the nearest inch or less. In bringing the ZEB REVO into our arsenal of tools, we’ve kept the accuracy we’ve always had, but introduced an efficiency that allows our experts to get out there and do more for our clients

    A typical residential property of this size would have usually taken around 4 days on-site for one surveyor. PPM were able to slash this time and complete the majority of the survey work in less than 2 and a half hours with the ZEB Revo.

    The use of GeoSLAM Hub software for post-processing and merging of the two datasets allowed the project team to generate a complete digital twin of the complex structure. GeoSLAM’s cutting edge mobile mapping technology was able to deliver an accuracy down to the nearest inch.

    Handheld mapping reduces skyscraper scan time by 30 hours




    10 hours


    Belo Horizonte,


    8,357 sq/m



    “In the city of Belo Horizonte, there is a distinct mix of contemporary, classic and historic buildings on display, making it a really attractive destination to visit. What comes with the architecture on offer however, is the need to preserve it for tourists and future generations to enjoy.

    Often the fragility of buildings or lack of resources means that many buildings go untouched for decades, leaving them to crumble. It’s my job to ensure these relics remain.

    When the chance to retrofit electrical installations and a fire prevention plan to a 130-metre art deco skyscraper, the Acaiaca Building, became available, the team at Paragram knew we had to be involved.

    We were very impressed with the quality of information captured by the ZEB Revo.

    Built in the 1940s and once used as a nightclub, cinema, shops and air-raid shelter, the building required some attention in order for it to meet safety standards. Having initially planned to measure the 8,357 square metre building using manual survey methods, estimates told us this would have taken three employees over 40 hours to complete an as-built structure.

    Working alongside contractors at Criar Projetos E Consultoria, Paragram decided to use GeoSLAM’s ZEB Revo, known for its ability to quickly generate images to within a few centimetres of accuracy. With the handheld device, the job was expected to take around 10 hours in total, reducing the workload dramatically.

    Acaiaca Building

    With just two operatives and in under 10 hours, we managed to complete a scan of the building’s interior, with one walking through the building holding the device and another taking a photographic record. This innovative way of working meant we were able to gather much more information than first anticipated, including the registration of beams and roof trusses, electrical installations and engine room areas.

    The ZEB Revo is a real game changer for the architecture industry.

    As a team, we were very impressed with the quality of information captured by the ZEB Revo, which was easily incorporated into a BIM representation using Revit software.

    Almost every renovation project is governed by strict time constraints, but with GeoSLAM’s device and its ability to rapidly scan large areas, it is a real game changer to our industry. With products like this at our disposal, I am excited about what the future will hold for heritage buildings in need of a little TLC.

    paragram logo

    Oxford Archaeology scan three historic sites in under 48 hours




    48 hours




    Three sites
    across Israel


    Historic Sites

    “48 hours to scan three historic sites in Israel – ambitious or impossible? Equipped with a handheld 3D mapping device from GeoSLAM, we were determined to find out. Our first stop was the Schneller building in Jerusalem. In its 160 year history it has been used as an orphanage, barracks and ammunition arsenal. A few years ago, an archaeological team unearthed the remains of a Roman bath house and winery underneath the site. The next stage of the building’s history is a conversion into a museum of Judaism – hence the requirement for a complete, high-accuracy survey of the site.

    Made up of four floors, 130 rooms, an outer courtyard and a number of stables, we needed to work quickly to scan the entire site. Using the handheld ‘go-anywhere’ ZEB Revo, in three – 30 minute scans he captured the entire building, including survey control points to georeference the data. Using traditional scanners, this would have taken several weeks and involved multiple set-ups.

    With the ZEB Revo, what use to take weeks can now be done in hours

    Next stop was an elegant and beautiful 12th century Benedictine monastery. With no more than 30 minutes between the end of the Vespers – the evening service – and the time when the public would be allowed into the monastery, we carried out a quick reconnaissance and accurately captured the unique domed building, only possible using GeoSLAM’s ’go-anywhere’ device.

    Panorama of Jerusalem Old City with Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Israel

    Final port of call was a delapidated 19th-century merchant house in the ancient Arab town of Jaffa. The challenge here was to record the building while construction works were in progress, with hoardings and scaffolding obscuring structures. A near impossible task, but the ZEB Revo was still able to collect survey-grade data in a matter of hours, which formed the basis of a working record of elevations, sections and plans.

    In under 48 hours Jamie had captured highly accurate 3D images of 3 heritage buildings. Proof indeed that with the ZEB Revo, what used to take weeks can now be done in hours.

    oxford archeology logo

    Creating 2D Floorplans for a residential Home


    Kent, UK

    Scan time

    30 minutes per scan


    23 rooms measuring 663m2






    Surveyors need to accurately capture, manage and utilise 3D spatial information – often in environments where there is very limited time on site. Omega Geomatics, a land surveying practice in the UK, took on one such task when they produced 2D floorplans for a nursing home, while the site was occupied 24/7. Paramount was ensuring minimum disruption to residents, while still achieving a high level of accuracy.

    With the building measuring 663m2 and with 23 residential rooms, communal and staff areas, the project team needed to find a new surveying method that meant they could walk and scan each resident’s room quickly without disrupting their daily routines.

    Two surveyors visited the nursing home and coordinated five spheres by the building exits on multiple levels. With GeoSLAM’s ZEB Revo, and its speed of capture capabilities, the team were able to walk around the building and capture the data needed from each room within just 10 to 20 seconds.

    With just two team members required for the project and less time expended on site, the overall cost was dramatically reduced

    The team conducted long-distance checks and height measurements. External scans took place, as an extra accuracy check. The entire scan took just 30 minutes, and the client was provided with accurate 2D floorplans within 24 hours, notably without any distress or disturbance to residents.

    The project required just two team members and this rapid data collection had huge cost-saving benefits. In turn, this led to less time spent on site, which also contributed to reducing the cost, all without compromising on accuracy. The scan achieved an average +/-15mm which met the needs of the client.

    Eaton Lodge

    Virtually recreating the Old Tucson Studios




    Two hours




    42,000 sq/m


    Outdoor Film

    Between tours and filming, Old Tucson Studios is a dynamic environment that couldn’t shut down to accommodate our University of Arizona 3D scanning team. With the equivalent of four city blocks and dozens of building exteriors and interiors to scan, we had to move fast. The team relied on the ZEB Horizon mobile scanner equipped with the ZEB Cam to quickly and accurately capture the geometry, architecture and appearance of the film set.

    We want film buffs to experience Old Tucson Studios the way it looked during its heyday when some of Hollywood’s biggest Western movies were filmed there. The colorized point clouds generated with the GeoSLAM devices will serve as the core data set upon which 3D models, and eventually, Virtual and Augmented Reality experiences will be created. Archived air photos and drone imagery, as well as photogrammetric measurements pulled from original films, will also help us create digital versions of the movie studio at key points in its history.

    The ‘Downtown Tucson’ main street and plaza stretch almost a quarter mile. Stationary scanners may seem like the obvious choice for long-range data capture, but there wasn’t time to set up and take down those types of devices. And we needed richer detail. Our scan technician held the mobile ZEB Horizon and moved quickly through the streets, dodging studio personnel and vehicles. She entered those buildings with real interiors and scanned them as well.

    Scanning with the ZEB Cam adds context to the point cloud. The scanner with mounted camera was held steady at chest level. At each building, the technician stopped and pointed the device directly at the façade as if snapping a still photo, and then slowly turned around to scan the surroundings. This captured a rich 3D scan data set for each structure along with its context on the movie set.

    I’ve seen the quality of the point cloud and it’s amazing

    The entire Downtown Tucson portion of the studio was scanned in two hours. Afterwards, the technician processed the scans and video footage into a colorized point cloud running the ZEB Hub software on a standard laptop. Extraneous people and vehicles were filtered from the point clouds later with an open-source third-party software.

    Downtown Tucson with the saloon on the left
    Downtown Tucson with the saloon on the left

    We will build 3D representations of the studio at major periods of its history – 1938 when it was built for the film Arizona, the 1950s and 60s when four John Wayne Westerns were shot there, and the mid-1990s just before a devastating fire. This will require merging the 3D models of today with archived air photos and film photogrammetry to re-create buildings that no longer exist.

    In the future, you will be able to walk the Old Tucson Studios lot wearing a VR headset and ‘see’ how the site looked during filming of epic motion pictures such as Rio Bravo, Gunfight at OK the Coral, and Tombstone. Who knows? John Wayne himself might swagger out of the saloon doors right in front of you.