Mobile Mapping the Highways - Shrewsbury Town Centre

Severn partnership is a Shrewsbury based survey business established for over 30 years.  Over that time, the natural progression of the business has been aligned with technology advancements within the survey industry. In 2014 they recently made another such progression with the investment in a new method of data capture called Mobile Surveying. This is the process of collecting 3D Geospatial information from a moving vehicle - on Land, Sea or Rail.

Up until very recently surveyors would predominantly use total stations. They are static survey instruments mounted on tripods, typically surveying 100’s of points per day.  In addition to this, approximately 10 years ago, Laser scanning technology was slowly introduced.  Again, these static instruments were mounted on tripods and in very simple terms would fire a laser at an object to calculate its position, but would do this very rapidly. This method over the last 10 years has transformed the way data is collected, now allowing millions of points of data to be collected in a day.

Mobile surveying has now advanced this technology further where an instrument which combines multiple technologies, is now  able to collect millions of points of data per second.  The instrument is no longer static and mounted on a tripod, but able to collect data at driving speeds mounted on to any kind of vehicle such as a car or boat.  These trillions of points of data, create what is called a ‘point cloud’.  This is basically a ‘cloud’ of data points whereas each point holds data in the form of co-ordinates.  These point clouds can be modelled to create a complex 3D model or a simple 2D CAD plan, used by engineers to help design and plan roads, buildings, infrastructure and assets.

To demonstrate this, Severn Partnership recently surveyed Shrewsbury town centre using their mobile mapping service.  It took only an afternoon to map the entire area in high detail, which if done the traditional way would have taken at least two weeks. You can see this data, a point cloud of Shrewsbury Town centre, on Severn Partnerships VIMEO web page as a video ‘fly through’ of the data.

Along with a 3D point cloud of data, the instrument also captures high resolution panoramic images.  These can be used as still images where photogrammetry can be used (the ability to measure accurately distances within an image) or stitched together to create a video.

Severn Partnership have recently been commissioned to survey a 20 km stretch of mountainous road in Germany.  The client used the data to analyse vehicle metrics and efficiency from the highly accurate point cloud - deviations in road surface down to the millimetre could be distinguished.

Severn Partnership continue to expand, by embracing the latest technology and investing in recruiting local people in Shropshire.


Mobile Mapping the Highways - Shrewsbury Town Centre from Severn Partnership on Vimeo.


Pete White Pete White

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