Accurately Mapping Informal Settlements in Bengaluru, India
The informal settlements in Bengaluru, India, house roughly 16% of the city’s population and there are around 500 recognised in this area.
Currently, Bengaluru is going through a period of modernisation and urbanisation which has caused the city limits to expand. As a result, the local government must provide documents of every house, detailing accurate measurements of its structure, such as boundary lines and roof heights.
The government has plans to formally declare ownership of the settlements to the people living in them, which means a map of the whole area was needed.
The Informal Settlements Narrow Lanes and Changing Environments
A team from a reputed geospatial company appointed by government, surveyed the area and collected this data. This involved mapping the informal settlements in Bengaluru with their complex layouts. The task was challenging as they include many narrow lanes that are difficult to access. Additionally, people were going about their daily activities.
Furthermore, some parts of the settlements are in dark and cramped areas whereas others are in direct sunlight. Consequently, the team needed to find adaptable solutions and technology that could handle these difficult environments, as well as deliver on the task in hand.
The area in question is a no-fly zone, which meant that drones were not an option. However, other methods for capturing data such as static scanning wouldn’t be feasible because of the busyness of the area. The cramped streets also meant the team would struggle to use a backpack solution either.
Scanning Difficult to Access Areas with ZEB Horizon
A fast and effective way to map the informal settlements was to walk through the complex passages, and a handheld laser scanner was the most suitable option. The geospatial company chose GeoSLAM’s ZEB Horizon scanner, due to its quick method of capturing accurate data and ease of use. The lightweight solution means that only one person is required to scan an area at any one time. This is less disruptive to the surveying team, which in turn is cost effective for them and their client.
The extensive maze of restricted passages and dead ends did not affect the versatile SLAM technology. By using the ZEB Horizon, the team were able to scan 40-45 different areas of the settlements. The team captured smaller areas of the informal settlements in a single scan ranging from 25-27 minutes. The team mapped larger areas over multiple scans, sending them to the client individually.
The ZEB Horizon provided good quality data and allowed us to scan difficult to access areas accurately and efficiently.
Creating accurate point clouds for the client
The final scans were imported into GeoSLAM Draw where orthophotos were automatically created. As a result, the engineers could make accurate measurements in a timely manner. In addition, the point clouds were exported to Terra Solid, where further information was extracted for the final report.
The final data delivered on their client’s accuracy goals. They were able to smoothly extract the boundaries and roofs of every single house in the informal settlements.
GeoSLAM’s technology in use elsewhere
This is not the first time that GeoSLAM technology has been used to map informal settlements in India. The ZEB Revo was used to accurately scan the settlements of Mumbai in 2017. The resulting 3D point cloud helped to extract information about the elevations and sections of each house frontage.
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Virtual Singapore– creating a dynamic 3D city model
376 ground floor void decks
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.
Beck Engineering uses GeoSLAM for creating accurate underground maps for mining
Beck Engineering | Words by Evan Jones
“Beck Engineering is an Australian mining engineering consultancy specialising in mining and rock mechanics analysis. Creating highly-accurate underground maps for the mining and natural resource sector is one of the most demanding forms of surveying. Most mine environments are hazardous, and we need to work in tight, enclosed spaces, which are uneven and difficult to access. GPS coverage is, of course, non-existent.
We map mines under intense time constraints using versatile technology which must be adaptable to this tough environment. For this purpose, the we have chosen GeoSLAM’s handheld mobile mapping devices that are compact, portable and deliver a high level of accuracy. With GeoSLAM’s ’go-anywhere’ 3D technology, Beck Engineering has immediate access to invaluable data regarding underground conditions. This time-sensitive information means we can accurately measure the shape of an excavation or tunnel over time.
As a result, tunnels can be faster and better constructed, while being safer and considerably more cost efficient. The applications of the spatially continuous monitoring data collected by GeoSLAM’s devices are being applied to a wide range of geomechanical applications, providing their clients with a previously unattainable insight into rock mass behaviour.
“Laser scanning in underground mines is now routinely conducted to measure deformation, assess residual ground support capacity, determine rehabilitation requirements and confirm excavation stability “
We have continued to use GeoSLAM products as they have proven to be affordable, lightweight and sufficiently robust devices for their application underground. GeoSLAM continue to produce a high-quality device that is at the forefront of practical mobile laser scanning devices.
Placed first in Australia and 20th in the world, Australian National University (ANU) is a research institution with its main campus in Canberra, the country’s capital. The university’s research priorities typically reflect the challenges facing the world today. One such project is to track tree growth and development over time in a joint effort between ANU and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Known as the ‘Precision Measurement of Trees and Forests’ project, the field team is charged with comparing and contrasting different ways of collecting data, using different terrestrial and airborne laser scanners, and working with digital imagery. The survey takes places in the National Arboretum in Canberra which features some 44,000 rare, endangered and symbolic trees and is made up of 94 mini forests.
GeoSLAM’s “go-anywhere” mapping technology was a natural choice for the outdoor project. Unlike terrestrial systems, the splash-proof, dust-tight, mobile laser scanners are designed to operate in the most difficult-to-access spaces, inside or outside, in daylight and darkness – without the need for GPS. What’s more, you can easily attach the portable laser scanners to a drone or helicopter for fast outdoor surveying.
In addition to GeoSLAM’s versatile handheld technology, the team also uses fixed point scanning and traditional forestry measures – such as Suunto and digital photographs from UAV’s. Tom Jovanovic, former CSIRO researcher and now Interactive Technology Specialist at the University of Newcastle, Australia, explains that the technologies are complementary, “Using GeoSLAM from the outset, as well as a different system, has enabled us to compare and contrast different measurements and combine them into a heavily monitored site finding. This includes the high level of resolution being sought.”
“What I really like about this product is that wherever you can walk, you can scan. It really is a case of ‘go-anywhere’ “
Emphasising that the project is specifically designed to take advantage of both static and mobile approaches, Tom Jovanovic says, “What’s nice about scanning with GeoSLAM’s technology is that it doesn’t involve repeatedly setting up in different locations within the research plot. You just initiate the start-up procedure then walk around the plot covering the trees from different angles.”
All forestry professionals like Tom need access to user-friendly technology that is easy to operate but is robust and reliable enough to do the job quickly and accurately. With GeoSLAM scanning technology, he says it takes only 10 to 15 minutes to completely cover a 180 square meter plot, adding, “What I really like about this product is that wherever you can walk, you can scan. It really is a case of ‘go-anywhere’. The scanner has made a significant contribution to an important undertaking. Mobile scanning that gives us dynamic changes over time – from any angle and in 3D – is a very important contributor to this work.”
“Mobile scanning that gives us dynamic changes over time – from any angle and in 3D – is a very important contributor to this work“
These GeoSLAM-delivered findings are vital to the project’s long-term aim. Combining them with knowledge of water usage and photo synthesis, plus meteorological data and high resolution photography, they feed into very fine scale modelling that will guide forestry research management and habitat protection policies into the future.