Mobile Mapping in Europe

A global perspective can frequently benefit potential customers and users of new technology. Taking a look at how mobile mapping is being deployed in other countries around the globe can give us ideas for new applications, enforce our confidence in performance, and help us build better workflows for data collection.

In my last LiDAR News article, I presented a case study on how mobile mapping is being used in Australia to map floor levels of structures in flood prone areas. This week we will take a look at two case studies from Europe.

San Sebastian – one of Spain’s most beautiful cities – began its history as a fishing village. The City’s Territorial and Town-planning Section developed and manages a comprehensive GIS database. Used by the land registry, police department, urban maintenance, gardens, and other divisions for everything from land parcel information to street furniture inventories.

As the years progress, the data consumers of San Sebastian are demanding more accurate updated information. Mobile mapping was considered as a new means to collect current information and provide the needed updates. To demonstrate the efficacy of this new data collection technology, a pilot project covering an area of both developed neighborhoods and new construction was conceived. Geograma, a provider of GIS, topographic, and mapping services, was engaged for the project.

Using a Topcon IP-S2, Geograma completed the collection phase of the project in seven, one to two hour runs, To improve accuracy, data processing included post-processing from the nearest GNSS reference station. Software tools, including Orbit GIS, were then used to extract the information needed for inventories from the 360 spherical images and LiDAR point cloud.

Over in Ireland, LandScope Engineering demonstrated the many benefits of mobile mapping during a roadway asset inventory in the central business district of Dublin. Due to the nature of this mapping environment, extensive mission planning was required.

The project area covered 114 kilometers of urban streets. Several factors present potential obstacles to efficient and accurate data collection: a challenged GNSS environment of narrow urban canyons, streets line with parked cars, high traffic volume along the roadway, and a dense network of target assets.

LandScope responded to these challenges with a well-conceived mission plan. A GNSS base station was installed at Dublin City Council’s office building. Multiple passes of the same street were made to insure coverage of target areas. Data collection was planned for a weekend with no planned civic events to avoid traffic congestion. Image capture spacing was set at two meter intervals so that no targets were missed.

It is significant that the conclusions reached by these mobile mapping professionals coincides with what is being reported by users here in the US: the elimination of safety risks by removing survey personnel from traffic corridors; 50% reduction in manpower; rapid updates of areas that have experienced recent change; and comprehensive image / LiDAR datasets that can be accessed by multiple professions for diverse applications.

Many thanks to Sander Jongeleen, Business Development Manger – Mobile Mapping at Topcon Europe Positioning (TEP) for providing the case studies for this article. Regarding the economic situation in Europe as it pertains to mobile mapping, Sander offered this synopsis: "In times of reduced spending, mobile mapping with GIS focused systems helps municipalities to manage their assets with higher quality, at reduced cost. This has been recognized by governmental organizations all over Europe."


San Sebastian digital – InPosition Magazine – a TEP publication

Mobile mapping in Dublin’s fair city – GIS Professional Magazine, Issue 41, August 2011