SLAM for Measured Building Surveys When Is It Appropriate?

Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) was first used by autonomous vehicles, to concurrently map and navigate through an unknown environment. 'SLAM' is not a particular algorithm or piece of software. Rather it refers to the problem of trying to simultaneously localise (i.e. find the position/orientation of) a sensor around its surroundings. This happens at the same time mapping the structure of that environment.

The Google Self-Drive car.

The Google Self-Drive car.

Outside of the survey industry, SLAM technology is utilised for many other applications. Including the Tesla and Google self-drive cars. These utilise other technologies also used within survey such as Lidar but in a different way. The underlying use of SLAM for this application is that it can navigate through unknown environments, which the car would encounter through its use, whilst mapping en-route at the same time.

Leica is a well known company supplying SLAM equipment such as the Pegasus backpack. The equipment is designed for rapid and regular reality capture with five cameras offering calibrated 360 degrees view.

The Leica Pegasus Backpack

The Leica Pegasus Backpack

SUMO, like many other survey companies, have adopted the use of SLAM based technology for some of our surveys. But which kind of surveys?

The current accuracy of SLAM data at present is approximately 4-5cm, so its typical use at present might be:

  • Feasibility Drawings

  • General Arrangement drawings

  • Fire Plan Drawings

  • Ceiling Void Surveys

  • Cave Systems

  • Void Surveys

Hand Held Scanning data collected by SUMO at a school.

Hand Held Scanning data collected by SUMO at a school.

General Arrangement Drawing by SUMO

General Arrangement Drawing by SUMO

General Arrangement Drawing by SUMO

General Arrangement Drawing by SUMO

SLAM technology is advancing as we speak, and the use of such technology is becoming wider. SUMO is staying at the forefront of mobile mapping. With advancements in technology like SLAM, we could see cheaper, quicker surveys without losing the accuracy. So watch this space!