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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

GeoSLAM Announces ZEB-REVO “Walk and Scan” Mobile Mapping Device Upgrade for Indoor Mapping

June 1st, 2017 by Susan Smith

Mark Reid, Vice President of Product Management at GeoSLAM Ltd talked about their recent announcement of the real-time upgrade option for the ZEB-REVO, their handheld mobile mapping system. Demonstrated for the first time at SPAR 3D 2017 in Houston, the optional upgrade includes a revised datalogger capable of undertaking SLAM registration in real-time. It has its own integrated Wi-Fi, with results that can be displayed live, as they are captured, on any web browser enabled device including tablets and smartphones.

Thornton Abbey Scan

GISCafe Voice: What are some indoor map applications for ZEB-REVO?

The ZEB-REVO handheld mobile mapping device employs a highly robust 3D Simultaneous Localisation And Mapping (SLAM) algorithm, which enables the rapid creation of a 3-dimensional model of any space.

Since it does not require a GPS signal, the ZEB-REVO is at its best in complex, enclosed, multi-level environments, without compromising on the accuracy of data collection.

User cam

ZEB-REVOs are regularly used by surveyors and non-experts alike in the construction and development sector, whether for the recording of heritage buildings in need of restoration, generating footprints of vast structures, real estate valuations or scan-to-BIM.

As the ZEB-REVO is non-invasive and easy to use (requiring minimal training for non-expert users), the device has also been lauded as an ideal scanning product for both dangerous and sensitive environments. This includes time-limited projects, such as in a precarious building prior to renovation or demolition, or occupied environments, such as colleges, nursing homes and hospitals.

Large building scan – Courtesy Geomeasure

GISCafe Voice: Can you describe your ‘modular approach?’

Structures with unusual layouts or complex networks are not a problem for the ZEB-REVO, thanks to both the modular and compact nature of the product. Unlike heavy single-function trolley-based SLAM systems, the lightweight, handheld device is ideal for adapting to difficult-to-access environments, whether that is down a narrow shaft while attached to a pulley system, or using a birds eye perspective when secured to a drone.

The ZEB-REVO can also be mounted to cars, boats, UAVs and other small-scale piloted and autonomous vehicles; making it ideal for surveying challenging indoor and outdoor multi-level environments. ZEB-CAM, which also is a modular add-on, can be quickly attached or detached depending upon the application and deployment method being used. This allows for an easy upgrade path that futureproofs the ZEB-REVO against the latest developments.
GISCafe Voice: How simple is the process of capturing data?

Data capture with the ZEB-REVO is really as simple as ‘walk and scan’. After a short initialisation period of less than 30 seconds, the user simply picks up the handheld scanner and walks through the survey environment. The 100Hz scanner inside the ZEB-REVO head picks up over 43,000 data points per second, ensuring that even a fast walk captures sufficient data to create a complete point cloud.

Need more detail? No problem, simply slow down or stand still in front of the feature of interest to capture a highly dense cloud of data. In a short amount of space huge volumes can be scanned – up to 100,000 square foot in under 1 hour – all this saved time on site results in huge cost savings of up to 1/3 when compared to traditional surveying techniques.


GISCafe Voice: Is registration preparing the captured data to be used?

Once captured, registration of the data couldn’t be simpler. The user simply ‘drags and drops’ the compressed data file into GeoSLAM Desktop to begin the registration process. Registration is as quick as 1:1 – so for a 30-minute scan, your prepared data can be ready in 30 minutes.

When using the additional ZEB-CAM modular unit, high-quality synchronized visual data can be viewed alongside the point cloud – in both 2D and 3D – allowing for feature identification and context capture.

A range of additional output options are also available – including selection of output data type and user-definable parameters for constricted/small spaces.

GISCafe Voice: What’s the process for usable data to be used in ArcGIS, Autodesk, Bentley or other products?

This part of the process is nowadays fairly straightforward. Most professional CAD or modelling packages allow direct import of point cloud data. A hassle-free integration with 3rd party software is vital to the usability of GeoSLAM data. The range of output data types from GeoSLAM Desktop includes industry standard .las, .ply and .e57 formats. This has made making use of point cloud data less intimidating and more easily integrated into pre-existing workflows.

Once the data has been processed the user can export the required file format of their point cloud. This can then be imported directly into these 3rd party softwares, such as ArcGIS which now supports .las directly or can be converted into a software specific format like within the Bentley platform.

Either way, the data becomes available and usable with very little manual work.

GISCafe Voice: Can you describe a typical workflow?

The typical GeoSLAM workflow begins with a brief site assessment. The user identifies the most appropriate and efficient route for undertaking the scan. The optimum routes involve plenty of ‘loop closures’ which help to bind the data cloud together.

Once satisfied with the planned route the survey can begin. The battery can run for up to four hours of continuous use, allowing a huge amount of data to be captured in a day. Utilizing GeoSLAM Desktop processing allows the data to be processed and checked on site – with no uploads required. Within one hour users can see their collected and processed data on the screen in front of them.

Back in the office and it’s a simple step to open the point cloud data in the CAD or BIM package of choice. Such speed means that scan, process and post-process can now be completed the same day.

GISCafe Voice: Is ZEB-REVO capturing only interiors or does it capture terrains as well?

Aside from bricks and mortar applications, the ZEB-REVO is also used for scanning all sorts of other environments too.

For vast and often un-scalable stockpiles, ZEB-REVOs are used by hand to walk around a pile, or attached to an extending pole for overall coverage. The data can then be swiftly imported into 3rd party software for rapid and highly accurate volume calculations. Other enclosed environments include marine vessels, caves and mines. A combination of indoor spaces and constricted environments, marine vessels can prove time-consuming, challenging and expensive to survey, but ZEB-REVOs have been used to survey heritage ship wrecks, pleasure vessels and submarines.

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Categories: cloud, indoor location technology, indoor mapping, integrated GIS solutions, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, photogrammetry, real estate, smartphones, subsurface utilities, utilities, utility geographic information systems

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