Content Hub

Keep up to date with our Content Hub for engaging thought leadership industry news and GeoSLAM updates.

Q&A with Bert Meuleman, GeoSLAM Belgium dealer

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reykjavik

GeoSLAM goes North with new dealer in Iceland

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Autonomous Mapping in Harsh and Hostile Environments

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GeoSLAM Partners with Microsol Resources

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GeoSLAM helps leading media company Zien24 revolutionise their digital workflow

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New partnership for GeoSLAM and NORMET

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Senior Promotion to bolster GeoSLAM growth

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Home renovation made easy with the ZEB Family

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GEO Business and SPAR 3D Expo: A tale of two events

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Getting to know you: Abhishek Bhartiya

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GeoSLAM expands service centre in France with Geomesure

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Safe, fast data capture with ZEB REVO on waste management project

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The Dos and Don’ts of Aerial Surveying

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Experience Strongest Ever SLAM with our upgrade campaign

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GeoSLAM responds to the Geospatial Commission

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Attracting and Retaining the Next Generation of Talent

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Global expansion on the horizon for GeoSLAM

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GeoSLAM feature on NatWest Business Hub

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GeoSLAM Welcomes CSIRO Visitors to UK HQ

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GeoSLAM providing inspiration in maths

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GeoSLAM mobile technology features in Science Channel Series in the US

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GeoSLAM launches new ZEB-HORIZON 3D Mobile Scanner

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GeoSLAM Launches Game-Changing Technology in the UK during Digital Construction Week

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Importance of safety berms at dump sites

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KTP Case Study: Predictive Monitoring of Rail Infrastructure

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Scanning through wire mesh with SITEMONITOR LIVE

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PROCESSMONITOR LIVE shotlisted for Tunnelling Award!

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Automated Stockpile Volume Monitoring

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3D Laser Mapping & GeoSLAM Global Merger Announced

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GeoSLAM’s CSR Strategy to Promote Students’ English Skills

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The benefits of measuring Shotcrete during application

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GeoSLAM to Demo Fast, Easy and Versatile 3D Mobile Laser Scanning at 2018 SPAR3D Conference

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GeoSLAM to showcase the Future of Construction at Geo Business 2018

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GeoSLAM take Geoterra to new heights with ContextCapture Solution from Bentley

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GeoSLAM announces distribution agreement with Cansel in Canada

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GeoSLAM and Corporate Social Responsibility

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GeoSLAM Academy Events prove a hit with customers

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Quickly and Safely Mapping our Underground World

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GeoSLAM announces UK distributor agreement with KOREC

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GeoSLAM celebrates 5 years in business with new HQ, record growth

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GeoSLAM Launch Time & Cost Saving 3D Mobile Laser Scanners at Dallas Fall BIM Forum 2017

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GeoSLAM and Bentley Systems join forces to take mobile reality modelling indoors

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GeoSLAM Changing The Economics of 3D Laser Scanning with new product launches at INTERGEO

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Verity – GeoSLAM Collaboration Advances Real-Time Construction Quality Management

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Reducing Scanning Time of Historic Sites from Weeks to Hours

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Record Six Months for GeoSLAM Thanks to Boom in Digital Engineering

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GeoSLAM Unveils Predictions for Engineering’s Digital Future

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University Challenge: To Deliver Rapid 3D Results in Half the Time

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GeoSLAM Global Network Expands Both East and West

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GeoSLAM to feature in upcoming BBC Show Countryfile

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Making Forest Surveys a Walk in the Park

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GeoSLAM signs up Seiler Instrument for Midwest USA Distribution

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GeoSLAM Expands Far East Operations with New Distributors

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GeoSLAM Announces Real-Time Upgrade For ZEB-REVO

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Danish Distributor Attends Annual Surveying Congress

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GeoSLAM Scores Top Marks at Century Old School

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Rapid Mobile Scanning for As Built Building Surveys

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Taking care to save costs and minimise disruption without compromising accuracy

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The Future of Hazardous Unmanned Mobile Mapping

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GeoSLAM Launches Zeb Cam for Zeb Revo

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GeoSLAM and Blackdog Robotics sign partnership agreement to supply unmanned mobile indoor mapping solutions

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GeoSLAM Zeb Revo Shortlisted for Wichmann Awards

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ZEB1 makes history, mapping Brei Holm for BBC’s ‘Coast’

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OPTRON Appointed as GeoSLAM Dealer for Sub Saharan Africa

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GeoSLAM Announces Global Distribution Agreement for 3D Reshaper & PointCab

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Laser Scanning the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa

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Engineering results ten times faster than traditional survey methods

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The Future of Hazardous Unmanned Mobile Mapping

30Last month GeoSLAM Ltd and Blackdog Robotics announced their partnership to provide unmanned mobile indoor & outdoor mapping solutions. Now, we explain what this new partnership means, what it can offer to a wide range of market sectors, and how unmanned mobile mapping is at the forefront of the surveying market.

A Trans-Atlantic Partnership

UK-based GeoSLAM is a market-leader in the design and manufacture of handheld indoor mapping systems. Using advanced Geospatial Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) software, the firm’s technology enables 3D documentation of indoor or ‘enclosed’ environments without the need for GPS, used in a variety of ways including the construction, mining, forestry, security, and marine sectors.

The firm was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between CSIRO (Australia’s National Science Agency and the inventors of Wi-Fi) and 3D Laser Mapping (a leading global provider of 3D LIDAR solutions).

Renowned for its ZEB1 and ZEB-REVO handheld mobile indoor mapping systems, GeoSLAM has a rapidly expanding global network of over 40 distributors across 6 continents.

US-based BlackDog Robotics is a division of NPC Robotics, which was founded in 1983 in Mound, Minnesota. The new division came into being in the early 2000s through the chance meeting of NPC founder and president Norm Domholt and BlackDog’s chief technology officer Michael Garrod on the set of television shows such as TLC’s Robotica and the BBC’s Robot Wars.

NPC had been building a reputation in the ‘robot-war’ world for some time due to their strong design pedigree and use of light and inexpensive parts. The two men saw the potential for the creation of a resilient and dependable modular robot to assist in the areas of law enforcement, first responders and surveillance. Thus, BlackDog Robotics was born.

Flash forward to the fall of 2016; with GeoSLAM’s expanding presence into the US market, it was only a matter of time before these two young, innovative companies crossed paths. It was immediately clear that the two products offered solutions with a large amount of overlap – whether it concerns mobility, ease-of-use, adaptability to varying environments, modularity – both GeoSLAM and BlackDog have them all.

The first public outing for the new partnership was at this year’s Intergeo Trade Fair in Germany, when BlackDog’s robot (affectionally named Ricky after a much-loved childhood black Labrador) made the journey across the Atlantic to make a guest appearance on GeoSLAM’s booth. With a rotating ZEB-REVO mounted onto the top, it was safe to say that Ricky attracted a huge amount of attention, and threatened to steal the show! But beyond the bright lights of trade shows, what does this new partnership have to offer?

Amalgamated Technology

Since the launch of GeoSLAM’s ZEB-REVO (in the spring of 2016), customers both existing and new have been delighted by the advances made on 2013’s ZEB1. Where the ZEB1 is solely handheld, the REVO’s in-built motor allows for autonomous rotation of the scanner head, releasing the unit from the grasp of the user and allowing remote operation for the first time. The existing mobility enjoyed by users of the ZEB1 (up and down stairs, inside caves, etc.) has been increased, allowing for mounting onto poles, backpacks, drones, surfaces, and even vehicles.

Vehicles, such as the BlackDog modular robotic platform. Developed with input from law enforcement personnel, the goal was to produce a reliable tool to gather data in hazardous environments, deploying a robot in place of a human. The data collected via the robot can be used to inform and support decision making in tactical incident management, reducing risk and improving outcomes. With a standard top speed of 3.8mph, the highly mobile robot can traverse a multitude of landscapes and environments, including sand, mud, debris, water and snow, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -40C to +65C. With the REVO’s datalogger (containing the unit’s battery & data storage) safely stowed inside the water and dust resistant casing of the robot, the two technologies operate in perfect tandem, often in very challenging conditions.

To cope with these challenges, both technologies need to be rugged. The BlackDog robot has been designed from the ground-up, for maximum modularity and ease of operation. It is capable of being disassembled and re-assembled using just 1 single hex key. Similarly, the REVO’s battery pack is easily replaced, again with the use of a hex key. Not that battery life is likely to be an issue – the REVO has a battery life of around 4 hours (continuous use), whereas the robot can operate for around 3 – plenty of time for even large areas of interest to be scanned.

Speaking of scanning, this is another area that GeoSLAM has improved upon. While the ZEB1 features a 40Hz speed scanner, the ZEB-REVO boasts an impressive 100Hz scanner, 2.5 times faster. Why is this important? With both units collecting 43,000 data point a second, the faster scan speed of the REVO allows for these data points to be spread more evenly across each scan line. The result? Coupled with the fixed rotation speed of the scanner head, the outcome is a more evenly-distributed cloud of points.

Not only is the data more even, but it is also more useful. With a more even spread of points, GeoSLAM’s world-leading SLAM algorithm can use more of the collected data in order to build up the resulting point cloud. There is a pleasing circularity in all of this – that a SLAM algorithm originally developed for the robotics industry is now being used in a mobile scanner mounted upon a robotic platform!

Multiple Applications

So, what is the potential for this collaboration? The adaptability of the REVO and the multi-mission configuration of the robot allow for a wide range of applications, including; terrorist/security incidents, law enforcement, and rescue/hostage situations.

All of this is made possible by the robot’s rugged hand held control unit, which features a line-of-sight (LOS) range greater than 500ft (150m), allowing the robot to be started, stopped and controlled from a safe distance. Such a distance is vital when scanning in hazardous environmental or risky situations, and removes the need for personnel to be put at risk.

With a bespoke modification for this robotic system, the REVO can also be initialised remotely. This allows for the robotic unit to be manoeuvred to the area of interest at top speed, in time-critical situations where speed is of the essence. The ZEB-REVO can then be initialised at a safe distance using the handheld controller. Initialisation is complete in under 1 minute, and scanning commences immediately. With a 360o vertical field of view, the scanner is able to collect a huge amount of environmental geospatial data in just a few short minutes, all whilst the robot is moving through the survey area. Once the survey is complete, the REVO scanner is stopped and the robot moved back to a safe distance.

Once returned, data is downloaded from the unit’s data logger and is processed on-site using GeoSLAM Desktop software, which requires no internet connection. Processing out in the field prevents time-loss and allows for almost immediate results – a 5 minute scan would take 5 minutes to process, for example.

The resulting data is a fully complete, registered point-cloud of the area of interest, allowing for specific and exact measurements of the area or feature of interest.

The Blackdog & GeoSLAM solution is suitable for both accident and crime scene investigations

The Future of Unmanned Mobile Mapping?

In today’s uncertain world, where the threat of terrorist attack is becoming an almost everyday reality, security & police forces are increasingly demanding solutions which can react rapidly, intelligently and reliably, whilst simultaneously not putting their people at risk. With a trans-Atlantic partnership formed through mutual admiration and respect of design and technology, GeoSLAM and BlackDog Robotics believe that their partnership offers real-world solutions to these new and constantly-evolving threats. We look forward to working together in 2017 and beyond, facing whatever challenges the future holds.