Mobile Mapping and the Role of the Geomatics Specialist - 16/08/2018

The demand for detailed, up-to-date 3D maps of cities, roads and large buildings is steadily growing. This demand is nourished by the ongoing exponential decrease in the cost of collecting point clouds (PCs). A major source of PCs are mobile mapping systems (MMSs), usually mounted on a car, van or other vehicle that can travel at the normal speed of traffic on roads and highways. An MMS usually consists of a positioning and orientation system, one or more laser scanners, one or more digital cameras and a control unit.

However, the ongoing miniaturisation of sensors and electronics is leading to the construction of laser scanners which are light enough to be mounted on unmanned aerial systems (UASs), trolleys, backpacks or sticks. The stick can be held in a surveying layman’s hand to capture rooms, corridors and many other indoor spaces and outdoor scenes. Many construction engineers, facilities managers and architects already acquire dense points by walking through the scene with just a handheld laser scanner on a stick. Hence, the acquisition of point clouds is no longer the sole domain of geomatics specialists. The key to this are easy-to-use, reliable sensors accompanied by robust software. Operating in buildings, tunnels and mines requires advanced solutions since there is no GNSS coverage.

As a result, the role of the geomatics specialist is shifting from surveyor to advisor and software developer. An essential part of the knowledge spectrum concerns the understanding of the nitty-gritty of geospatial datasets, their fusion with other data as well as the storage demands of big data.

Last updated: 30/05/2020