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3D Mapping Informal Settlements in Bengaluru, India


Bengaluru, India

Scan time

25-27 minutes per scan


40 acres


Informal Settlements



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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