The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W8
13 Nov 2017
 | 13 Nov 2017


F. Fissore, F. Pirotti, and A. Vettore

Keywords: Web-tool, Mobile mapping, Low-cost, Open source, Inertial navigation system

Abstract. During the last decade several Mobile Mapping Systems (MMSs), i.e. systems able to acquire efficiently three dimensional data using moving sensors (Guarnieri et al., 2008, Schwarz and El-Sheimy, 2004), have been developed. Research and commercial products have been implemented on terrestrial, aerial and marine platforms, and even on human-carried equipment, e.g. backpack (Lo et al., 2015, Nex and Remondino, 2014, Ellum and El-Sheimy, 2002, Leica Pegasus backpack, 2016, Masiero et al., 2017, Fissore et al., 2018).

Such systems are composed of an integrated array of time-synchronised navigation sensors and imaging sensors mounted on a mobile platform (Puente et al., 2013, Tao and Li, 2007). Usually the MMS implies integration of different types of sensors, such as GNSS, IMU, video camera and/or laser scanners that allow accurate and quick mapping (Li, 1997, Petrie, 2010, Tao, 2000). The typical requirement of high-accuracy 3D georeferenced reconstruction often makes such systems quite expensive. Indeed, at time of writing most of the terrestrial MMSs on the market have a cost usually greater than 50000, which might be expensive for certain applications (Ellum and El-Sheimy, 2002, Piras et al., 2008). In order to allow best performance sensors have to be properly calibrated (Dong et al., 2007, Ellum and El-Sheimy, 2002).

Sensors in MMSs are usually integrated and managed through a dedicated software, which is developed ad hoc for the devices mounted on the mobile platform and hence tailored for the specific used sensors. Despite the fact that commercial solutions are complete, very specific and particularly related to the typology of survey, their price is a factor that restricts the number of users and the possible interested sectors.

This paper describes a (relatively low cost) terrestrial Mobile Mapping System developed at the University of Padua (TESAF, Department of Land Environment Agriculture and Forestry) by the research team in CIRGEO, in order to test an alternative solution to other more expensive MMSs. The first objective of this paper is to report on the development of a prototype of MMS for the collection of geospatial data based on the assembly of low cost sensors managed through a web interface developed using open source libraries. The main goal is to provide a system accessible by any type of user, and flexible to any type of upgrade or introduction of new models of sensors or versions thereof. After a presentation of the hardware components used in our system, a more detailed description of the software developed for the management of the MMS will be provided, which is the part of the innovation of the project. According to the worldwide request for having big data available through the web from everywhere in the world (Pirotti et al., 2011), the proposed solution allows to retrieve data from a web interface Figure 4. Actually, this is part of a project for the development of a new web infrastructure in the University of Padua (but it will be available for external users as well), in order to ease collaboration between researchers from different areas.

Finally, strengths, weaknesses and future developments of the low cost MMS are discussed.