Mobile Mapping Surveys
In surveying terms, mobile mapping refers to the technique of collecting geospatial data for surveying and mapping applications using a mobile platform that moves through an area, typically a vehicle, and is equipped with specialized surveying and mapping equipment.
Mobile mapping systems are used to capture data efficiently and accurately about the Earth’s surface and its features, including terrain, infrastructure, and objects. Here’s an overview of the equipment commonly used in mobile mapping:
Mobile mapping systems rely on high-precision GPS (Global Positioning System) or GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receivers to determine the precise position and velocity of the survey vehicle. These receivers provide the georeferencing necessary for accurate mapping.
IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)
An IMU is a device that measures the vehicle’s acceleration and angular rate. It helps determine the orientation and attitude of the mobile mapping system, which is crucial for accurately aligning data collected by other sensors.
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)
LiDAR sensors emit laser pulses and measure the time it takes for the laser beams to bounce back after hitting objects. This technology creates highly accurate 3D point clouds of the surrounding environment, including terrain, buildings, vegetation, and other objects. LiDAR is a key component of many mobile mapping systems.
Mobile mapping systems often include multiple cameras, including RGB (colour) cameras and sometimes multispectral or thermal cameras. These cameras capture images that can be used for visual interpretation, texture mapping, and feature recognition.
These sensors track the movement of the vehicle’s wheels and help improve the accuracy of the survey data by compensating for any GNSS signal interruptions (e.g., in urban canyons or tunnels).
Data Storage and Processing Unit
Mobile mapping systems are equipped with powerful computers and storage units to process and store the vast amount of data collected during surveys.
Control and Navigation Software
Specialized software is used to control the mobile mapping system, plan survey routes, and integrate data from various sensors in real time or during post-processing.
Mobile Mapping Vehicle
The survey equipment is mounted on a vehicle, which can be a car, van, boat, or even a backpack, depending on the specific application. The vehicle provides the means to move through the survey area while collecting data.
Mobile mapping is commonly used in applications such as road and highway surveying, city planning, infrastructure management, forestry, utility mapping, and environmental monitoring. It allows our surveyors and mapping professionals to efficiently gather highly accurate geospatial data, making it an essential tool in modern surveying and mapping practices.