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Category Archives: News

How to Choose the Right Mobile Mapping System for you

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At the Capturing Reality Conference this November, 3D Laser Mapping are asking questions and providing insight to help you choose the right mobile mapping system for your needs.

Dr Neil Slatcher, Research and Development Manager for 3D Laser Mapping will be with IGI mbH on stand #68 at Capturing Reality next week, showcasing StreetMapper IV. He will also be presenting ‘Mobile LiDAR: A Buyers Guide’ on Wednesday 25th November at 3pm.

With numerous mobile mapping systems (MMS) available, Neil will de-mystify this technology. With a variety of applications covered by MMS, some sensors are more suited to some applications than others.He will explain the advantages and disadvantages of mobile mapping and share tips on how to get the system that meets your requirements.

If you want to arrange a meeting or discuss further, please email info@3dlasermapping.com

3D Laser Mapping is no stranger to mobile mapping and entered the market in 2004 with the first system of its kind. Since then, StreetMapper has evolved and has moved with the times to remain the market leading solution and to keep up with client demands.

Housed in a protective enclosure, otherwise known as the POD, the StreetMapper IV is made up of a high-accuracy RIEGL laser scanner with market leading IMU from IGI mbH. The speedy system makes capturing highly detailed data easy with only one cable connection from the POD to the control panel.

Weighing in at around 13kg, it’s even as light as one of the mobile backpack scanning solutions available today.  Designed for ultimate portability, the system can be mounted easily and transported anywhere in only two pelicases.

Boasting survey grade accuracy, this highly compact and portable system, StreetMapper IV has to be seen to be believed.

If you’re unable to attend Capturing Reality or would just like a demo of the system – please get in touch and email us at info@3dlasermapping.com

Many Discover the Benefits of 3D Measurement Technology in London

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Last week UK delegates were shown the benefits and uses of 3D measurement systems and software at a free event held by 3D Laser Mapping, ‘Digital Information in 3D’.

Held at the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering, existing customers and technical experts made up an exciting agenda of presentations and technical demonstrations. Attendees from a wide range of industries were shown the informative ways in which laser scanning and medium format photography can benefit their projects. And the event hosted the launch of new product ranges from 3D Laser Mapping, RIEGL and PhaseOne Industrial.

On 4th November during the Ground Based 3D Data Capture day, the new RIEGL VZ-400i was showcased in the UK for the first time. Its many capabilities were featured through technical demonstrations and presentations from RIEGL staff – it attracted lots of positive attention.

On 5th November, the event centred round Mobile and Airborne 3D Data Capture. This day focussed 3D Laser Mapping’s StreetMapperIV. Retaining such high accuracy, the small pod based solution using the RIEGL VUX-1HA scanner also received a great reception.

Guests were also introduced to the benefits of the uniquely high resolution photography achievable using PhaseOne Industrial cameras, as a new iXR range was presented by Steve Cooper.

‘‘The goal of the conference was to provide information on the added value that using 3D measurement technology can bring ‘’, Said Graham Hunter, 3D Laser Mapping, ‘‘We were pleased to invite our long-standing partners RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems to report on the latest developments in laser scanning, as well as bringing Phase One Industrial and IGI mbH to our event. Presentations from existing customers provided informative case studies on the many ways in which this technology can be applied from topics such as costal erosion to tunnel mapping.’’

A wide range of case studies presented by customers made up the agenda, including one of 3D Laser Mappings first ever customers, Peter Hobbs (British Geological Survey) who told us of his work with laser scanning for engineering geology. Jack Williams from Durham University discussed his research on costal erosion at Whitby using the SiteMonitor solution. Tony Rogers of APR Services showed impressive data from his projects including scanning buildings and landscapes. Andy Hunter of the Metropolitan Police also discussed similar applications for crime scenes at the Computer Aided Modelling Bureau.

Following the introduction of StreetMapperIV and the highly anticipated RiCOPTER from RIEGL, Phase One Industrial offered something different with their ‘Seal Spotting’ case study. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used the impressive camera systems to photograph areas above a seal colony to count the number of seals. Prof Alan Wilson of the Royal Veterinary College also explained his exciting work using  both a RIEGL airborne laser scanner and a PhaseONE medum format camera to map Cheetahs in Africa.

In addition to the product launch, there was an array of RIEGL products on display and being demonstrated by RIEGL technicians: The VZ-2000, VZ-4000, the VMZ Hybrid Mobile Mapping System and the RiCOPTER with VUX-SYS for UAV-based surveying applications.

3D Laser Mapping is proud to have maintained long standing partnerships with RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems and IGI mbH, which allows both companies to showcase their expertise and quality solutions at events like ‘Digital Information in 3D’. It was with pleasure to also invite PhaseOne, following the signing of a new business partnership.

The event was a great opportunity for 3D Laser Mapping and their partners to interact with both new and prospective customers, whilst showcasing new technology.

Full gallery, agenda and presentations from the event can be found on our conferences page.


If you attended the conference or just want to find out more, email us at info@3dlasermapping.com

GeoSLAM Reveal New Desktop Software for Local Data Processing.

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After the success of unveiling the new ZEB-REVO at Intergeo earlier this year, GeoSLAM announce an exciting release of new processing software for indoor mapping projects. GeoSLAM-Desktop Software can now be purchased, allowing customers to harness the power of GeoSLAM products whilst remaining offline. With no need to upload data to the cloud, this new development in the way which data can be processed is perfect for those without web access, or with security issues around cloud processing. The ease of operation of ZEB and ZEB-REVO is mirrored in the new GeoSLAM-Desktop Software with minimal training needed to rapidly produce fully registered data.

For those who still require a cloud- based solution, standard GeoSLAM credit based processing will remain, offering GeoSLAM customers complete versatility in their data processing. GeoSLAM-Desktop Software will allow unlimited processing of data from the entire GeoSLAM suite of products as a single user or network license. Customers can benefit from a full 12 months online processing support where required. For customers who wish to remain ‘off-line’ a technical support hotline is available. After an initial 12 month period a full software maintenance package is available.


For further information please contact info@3dlasermapping.com

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

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Henno Morkel, LiDAR systems engineer and product specialist for ZEB1 in our South African office, gives us an in-depth account of one very unusual job that he and the mobile laser scanner were asked to complete recently…


3D Laser Mapping’s South-African office were privileged to do some 3D laser scanning with our hand-held mobile laser scanner ZEB1 recently, at Rising Star Cave.  Situated in the Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg South-Africa, this is the cave where the latest incredible archaeological find – dubbed Homo naledi (naledi coming from dinaledi meaning “the rising star” in the native Sesotho-language) has been discovered.

This archaeological find, consisting of around 1550 bone fossils representing 15 different individuals is considered to be the closest possible ancestor to our genus, Homo sapiens.  The actual chamber which housed all of the newly discovered specimens was first discovered by a pair of recreational cavers Steven Tucker and Rick Hunter about two years ago.  They then referred the find to highly acclaimed paleoanthropologist Lee Berger from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Lee Berger went on to recruit various anthropologists and archaeologist to excavate and examine the fossil chamber.  The final chamber could only be accessed by a very long (almost 12m) narrow chute, which only ‘slimmer’ explorers could slide through.  One of the researchers selected was anthropologist Marina Elliot from the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Fig.1 - The ZEB1 mobile hand-held laser scanner

Fig.1 – The ZEB1 mobile hand-held laser scanner

Marina Elliot had a great desire to document the Rising Star Cave with modern technology, especially that of 3D laser scanning,  so  she contacted 3D Laser Mapping to enquire about our mobile hand-held laser scanning solution, the ZEB1, manufactured by GeoSLAM – a UK based company situated in Nottingham.

Some 3D laser scanning of the Rising Star Caves has previously been conducted, but with a static terrestrial laser scanner.  This method was not fit for the purpose of scanning in small spaces and tight crevasses, and also required a lot of different individual scanner setups. The ZEB1 laser scanner however is a portable device which easily fits inside a small backpack. The mobility of this advanced laser scanning technology allows the operator to walk and scan simultaneously, covering greater distances much faster.

The Rising Star Cave consists of a labyrinth of cave chambers and long narrow diagonal vacuums – this cave is definitely not for the claustrophobic.  The purpose of this site visit was to show the ZEB1’s capability for scanning the cave site, and to determine if the ZEB1, and the data output given could be a good tool for them to assist in the 3D documentation of the cave.

I met up with Marina Elliot and her exploration team at the Sterkfontein Caves visitors parking area at 07:00 am the 2nd of July 2015, from there  we drove to the Rising Star cave site. Marina and Wayne gave me a briefing about how the caves work and safety points, providing me with the necessary safety equipment like a hard hat with a cave light and an overall.

Fig.2 -  Showcasing the ZEB1 mobile laser scanner and explaining the main principles of operation.

Fig.2 – Showcasing the ZEB1 mobile laser scanner and explaining the main principles of operation.

I then explained to the team how the ZEB1 scanning device works and we commenced scanning of the cave site, working our way inside into all its different chambers. In total we did eleven individual scans as we moved along downwards into the tunnel, each of them creating a closed loop as necessary for the ZEB1 workflow.

In total it took us 3-4 hours to scan 80% of the Rising Star Cave The total length of the cave measured from the scanned data was approximately +- 1.2 km, and we were descended vertically about 30m underground.

One of the main advantages for using the ZEB1 laser scanner to scan and document underground environments and caves, is that the data capture is mobile.  You can walk or crawl around in the cave and ‘paint’ the areas with laser as you move along.  This feature makes the ZEB1 laser scanner unique in that it uses technology borrowed from the field of robotics called – SLAM.   (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping).  This enables cave scanners/documentors/archaeologists or anthropologists to rapidly 3D scan a cave within 0 –3cm accuracy.  This means that the deviation of error or difference between the scan data to the real world environment differs by +- 0 – 3cm.

The fact that the ZEB1 laser scanner is a mobile scanner also greatly improves its data capturing capability with regards to its reach and line of sight.  The scanner has an indoor range of about 30 m, which means that the infrared laser beams spread and penetrate smaller gaps and crevasses which you can’t see with the naked eye.

Fig.3 - Top bird’s eye view of the point cloud data scanned; the points are coloured by elevation height, meaning red is the highest elevation and blue is the lowest elevation.

Fig.3 – Top bird’s eye view of the point cloud data scanned; the points are coloured by elevation height, meaning red is the highest elevation and blue is the lowest elevation.

Fig. 4 – Right side view of the point cloud data from the Rising Star cave; the points are coloured by elevation height, meaning red is the highest elevation and blue is the lowest elevation.

Fig. 4 – Right side view of the point cloud data from the Rising Star cave; the points are coloured by elevation height, meaning red is the highest elevation and blue is the lowest elevation.

Fig. 5 – An oblique view of final big chamber where Dragon’s back is situated, and this image also shows the superman crawl that one must go through from one chamber to the next.

Fig. 5 – An oblique view of final big chamber where Dragon’s back is situated, and this image also shows the superman crawl that one must go through from one chamber to the next.

Fig. 6 – A top view, cut in half horizontally, of one of the first chambers in the cave system After we ascended out of the cave, I processed the scan data and then registered each of the individual scans to each other to give us the overall total picture of the cave system up until dragon’s back which we did on the day.

Fig. 6 – A top view, cut in half horizontally, of one of the first chambers in the cave system

By analysing and looking at the laser point cloud results, it give the viewer or researcher an autoscopic view of the cave system, which can provide invaluable additional geometrical information about the cave, and maybe even show new entrances or different pathways within the cave that were previously unknown.

With the point cloud processing software available, one can dissect the scan data horizontally or vertically into different levels or layers, to do further analysis and inspection of a specific area within the caves.

After we ascended out of the cave, I processed the scan data and then registered each of the individual scans to each other to give the overall total picture of the cave system up to the dragon’s back which we did on the day.

Fig. 5 – Showcasing and explaining the ZEB1 scanner to a cave explorer.

Fig. 5 – Showcasing and explaining the ZEB1 scanner to a cave explorer.

fig6 - superman crawl

Fig. 6 – Approaching through the Superman Crawl – a small tunnel, about 4m in length, in which cavers should extend their one arm in front of them, and hold the other arm on their side towards the back – i.e. Superman pose.

The ZEB1, has proven itself across the globe for being a truly fast, nimble and versatile laser scanner for scanning in tight areas.  Some examples of cave sites which have been successfully mapped with the ZEB1 scanning system can be read about at these links:

Aboriginal CavesThe National Show caves of Wales ,Wookey Hole Cave , Cliefden Caves




Most recently the ZEB1 made history when it was used to map Brei Holm, a dangerous coastal cave in Papa Stour, one of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.


Read more about the ZEB1 for underground mining on our product page.


‘Digital Information in 3D’ Technology Highlight – RIEGL

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In the run up to our event, we take a detailed look at some of the technology that will be discussed and on show during ‘Digital Information in 3D’. Here we focus on RIEGL.

RIEGL terrestrial laser scanners provide detailed and highly accurate 3D data rapidly and efficiently. Applications are wide ranging, including Topography, Mining, As-Built Surveying, Architecture, Archaeology, Monitoring, Civil Engineering and City Modelling.
Laser Scanners from RIEGL make use of ‘Online Waveform Processing’ technology. In this video, Ananda Fowler and Tan Nguyen from RIEGL explain for their laser scanners, and online waveform processing work. We also wrote a blog post explaining the technology and its benefits here.

3D Laser Mapping are premier distributors of RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems, having served the UK, Ireland and sub-Saharan Africa since 1999.
‘We started out working with RIEGL in 1999, a relationship which continues to this day. I saw the quality in the RIEGL scanners, offering something very unique to the marketplace’   Graham Hunter

Official UK Launch:

We are excited to be launching the new VZ-400i laser scanning system at our event, with a unit on display in our technology room. This is the latest in the VZ line of scanners from RIEGL, and is a ground breaking release from the company. Read our blog post explaining the main features of the new scanner.

vz-400i-rear-45deg_smaller (1)


Also on display will be the RiCOPTER, the first unmanned aircraft system from RIEGL. This is a remotely piloted aircraft system, flexible enough to be equipped with multiple sensors allowing for aerial data capture.
The extremely lightweight carbon fibre main frame, foldable propeller carrier arms, and shock-absorbing undercarriage enable stable flight, safe landings and handy transportation.
The RiCOPTER can be equipped with different sensors up to an overall maximum payload of 16 kg (sensors and power supply).

VZ-2000 and VZ-4000:

The VZ-2000 and VZ-4000 are from the VZ-line of scanners from RIEGL, both can be used in our SiteMonitor4D Solution. Due to their super quick and long range properties, these scanners are ideal for geology, geotechnical hazards, surveying and monitoring. Read our blog post explaining the changes to the VZ line through time here.

VUX SYS with RIEGL VP-1 Pod:

Adding to our range of aerial solutions, we will be showing the VUX SYS laser scanner. This scanner integrates into the small, lightweight RIEGL VP-1 Pod to be mounted to manned helicopters. View this video to learn more about the exciting aerial system.

Keep up to date with the event and register on our webpage.


Official UK launch of the new RIEGL VZ-400i at our event in November: ‘Digital Information in 3D’

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We are pleased to announce that we will be launching the new RIEGL VZ-400i at our event in November.

The new end-to-end laser scanning system was first revealed at InterGEO this year, and has since been making an impact with its impressive list of features and capabilities.

We are excited to show you this new scanner, and explain how it can help benefit your company.

We wrote a blog post after the initial launch, which you can read here.

Head to our event page for more information, as we update you with the other systems we will also have on show, as well as revealing the speakers we have lined up across the two days.

StreetMapper IV to launch at intergeo – The latest mobile mapping system from 3D Laser Mapping

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3D Laser Mapping are launching their brand new StreetMapper system at Intergeo this year.

StreetMapper first came onto the market in 2004, driven by client demand to survey roads and structures above the road with unparalleled safety, speed and accuracy.  By teaming up with IGI GmbH, the German Guidance and Navigation specialists, what resulted was a first-of-a-kind system from 3D Laser Mapping.

The original StreetMapper system used four RIEGL laser scanners and the best commercially available IMU at the time. The technology was a game-changer in its day, but one which required slight refinement to reach the needs of ever changing modern markets.

Alternative versions were developed in 2010 and 2012; StreetMapper POD – an enclosed mobile mapping solution with two Riegl laser scanners and an IGI IMU, and StreetMapper PORTABLE – a modular system with one RIEGL laser scanner, the same IMU, and a lightweight swivel mount.

Where both these systems continued to meet the needs of client demands, there was still room for improvement. Further requests from customers for an even more compact, simplified yet reliable system were raised. 3DLM listened and responded.

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2015 is a big year for the StreetMapper brand as we prepare to launch an all-new version of our market-leading solution at Intergeo in Stuttgart.” commented Dr. Chris Cox, Senior Engineer for mobile Mapping Systems at 3D Laser Mapping.  “Our customers have spoken; they want a new system that is more compact, more versatile, and easier to use while still delivering the same high-levels of survey grade accuracy.  And that’s precisely what we will unveil in September.”

Come to stand no: 84.025 at Intergeo from 15th-17th September to see the new StreetMapper IV and find out how it can benefit your business.

3D Laser Mapping sign agreement with Phase One Industrial Cameras

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3D Laser Mapping are happy to announce an exciting new dealership agreement with Phase One Industrial cameras, and are now distributing the high-resolution systems in the UK.

Easily integrated into existing systems, the Phase One aerial cameras combine flexibility and exceptional image quality and features to create a customisable solution suited to your needs. At a fraction of the price of rival large-format cameras, the quality and functionality of the Phase One cameras can’t be bettered, and we are proud to add the systems to our range of 3D data capture devices.

Steve Cooper, Sales Director, Phase One Industrial said, “We look forward to working with 3D Laser Mapping, a multifaceted company with solutions covering airborne and mobile mapping, security, terrestrial scanning, monitoring systems and UAVs, making them an ideal dealer for Phase One industrial cameras.”

Join us on 4TH and 5th November at our event ‘Digital Information in 3D’ where the Phase One cameras will be on display, and you can see for yourselves the uniquely high resolution images they capture, and the information that can be retrieved from them.

View the Phase One range on our website here.