Indoor mapping

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

In by Nicholas Beaumont

ZEB1 featured on BBC’s ‘Coast’ series, used to map Brei Holm, a dangerous cave in Papa Stour, one of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

The episode featured Andy Torbet with laser survey specialist Kevin Dixon and the help of boat operator Ryan Leith, using the hand held scanner to make history, mapping some of the most impressive sea caves in Britain.


Never before had a ZEB1 laser scanner been in a sea cave, nor a boat – but its lightweight, robust yet accurate qualities meant it was the perfect tool for creating a 3D model of the surroundings, as it was put to work in the new, testing environment.

Described as a ‘masterpiece of robotic technology’, here the ZEB1 was used in a way which could be paramount to the future of science.

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When examining the data, the researchers were impressed with the quality of the point cloud, noting the details such as a hole in the roof being documented to superb accuracy.

Andy Torbet said: ‘Surveys like this could be used to predict cave and tunnel collapse, saving lives and transforming coastal management’.

Learn more about the ZEB1 for use in caving here.

Learn more about a project using laser scanning for coastal monitoring here.

(Full episode can be found on BBC Iplayer, Episode 6, Series 10)