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Mapping off the beaten track

Industry Articles September 13, 2022

Mapping off the beaten track – with OxTS LiDAR Survey

At OxTS, our expertise in inertial navigation has allowed us to provide a reliable and accurate georeferencing solution. The solution comprises of an OxTS INS, and our LiDAR georeferencing software OxTS Georeferencer. This has traditionally been for the survey and mapping market although we’re starting to see other industries take an interest.

Predominantly used on the road, we enable centimetre-level accurate pointcloud creation with our LiDAR and INS integrations, alongside our OxTS Georeferencer software. However, we are now seeing a greater need for localisation and georeferencing technology in both GNSS denied areas and those that cannot be reached by car. This is particularly evident in the construction, environmental, conservation and heritage industries. These industries all have varying requirements when it comes to accuracy and pointcloud quality.

We have also seen pointclouds used for virtual reality experiences at conferences (and done it ourselves!). This provides visitors with an immersive experience of the data they can collect. With this in mind, we took a trip to Minster Lovell with our new development tool, a LiDAR mounted backpack. Using the backpack we did some mapping ‘off the beaten track’ to see what we could achieve.

 

   

Minster Lovell Hall

If there is one thing we have aplenty in the UK, it’s historical buildings. With over 350,000 buildings listed because of their historical importance, there is no shortage of interesting buildings to survey.

Minster Lovell Hall is an English Heritage site, in OxTS’ local county of Oxfordshire. Built in the 1430s by William, Baron of Lovell and Holand – one of the richest men in England – it was later home to Francis, Viscount Lovell, a close ally of Richard III. After several owners took charge of the hall it was abandoned and eventually demolished in the 18th century, leaving the extensive remains that stand today.

 

 

 

The buildings are grouped around a central courtyard in a form characteristic of a late medieval manor house, and it proved to be a great place to test our prototype backpack. With dense tree canopies on one side, tight doorways, narrow views of the sky and plenty of height to test the angled mounting of our survey-focused LiDAR; while also providing some open sky areas to allow us to get back to RTK before surveying another section of the hall.

And the backpack, alongside our ability to optimise, boresight and post-process stood up to the challenge to produce the following pointcloud:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have an environment like this, where access is difficult for vehicles, but you need to create highly accurate 3D pointclouds, or you’re interested in understanding how to make a splash at your next conference, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss your project further.

 

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What’s on the backpack?

The backpack itself has been created to enable us to collect data quickly without a car. It has two Hesai LiDAR sensors, one of our new prototype INS devices, and a single antenna. We then connect to a laptop, which allows us to configure, warm-up, optimise lever arms and boresight the system. This process allows us to collect the best possible data.

 

Head of Product – New Technology, Paris Austin getting ready to calibrate the sensors

 

 

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