- A group at the Stevens Institute of Technology has developed a 3D mobile mapping system for less than $20k.
- ROAMS uses a 2D scanner on a rotating and pivoting platform to obtain 3D coverage.
- This kind of innovation is going to rapidly expand the laser scanning market.
A group at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey has developed a 3D mobile mapping system using a 2D laser scanner. Instead of using multiple 3D scanners to build a system costing $100,000+, this group is using a 2D scanner that costs $6,000. The entire robotic system was built from off the shelf parts for between $15 and $20,000. This is both impressive and exciting.
Roams – the Remotely Operated and Autonomous Mapping System was funded by the US Army. The resolution of the system is lower than the sophisticated mobile 3D mapping systems coming on the market, but for many applications it is “close enough” – a phrase which used to have real meaning in the surveying profession. It was the survey party chief’s job to decide what was close enough. I believe the concept is still there with laser scanning, but it’s not the same level of decision making.
The 2D scanner is mounted on a pivoting and rotating framework that provides the 3D coverage. The vehicle is guided from a command vehicle which can be up to a mile away. The system also includes a number of digital cameras that can be remotely controlled.
This is innovation at its best and it can only lead to much more widespread use of laser scanning.