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‘First-of-its-kind’ mobile 3D mapping system will scan 2 million data points a second

By Eric Van Rees - 29th June 2023 - 08:30

The University of Bradford (UK) has taken delivery of the UK’s first Leica TRK700 Evo - a vehicle-mounted mobile mapping system capable of capturing two million data points every second to a resolution of 1mm.

The state-of-the-art device will be used to expand Virtual Bradford, the digital twin of the city, which initially covered 1.5 square miles of the historic city centre and has been expanded to cover Saltaire.

Professor Andrew Wilson, from the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, said: “We’re delighted that the University of Bradford now has the very first Pegasus TRK700 Evo unit in the UK. This has been made possible by substantive investment from the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Capability for Collections (CapCo) fund and has already been put to work documenting Saltaire World Heritage Site, as part of ‘People, Heritage & Place’, one of nine knowledge exchange projects funded through the AHRC Place Programme.”

Tom Sparrow, Senior Scientist in Visualising Heritage who has been at the forefront of working with data captured with the Leica TRK described the potential of this: “The first run with the new device captured the Canal Road link between the City Centre and Saltaire, as well as the entirety of Saltaire World Heritage Site in just two and a half hours – a distance of 29.18 km with 87,471 images and a total of 2,050,834,333 exported points.”

Professor Chris Gaffney, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation explained: “We enjoy a close working partnership with City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and are delighted to see the importance of digital twins in place-based research at a time when Bradford is developing the runway to 2025 and Bradford’s role as UK City of Culture.

“As we continue to work together to extend the reach of Virtual Bradford, it is clear that the use of transformative digital technologies to develop digital twins will help the city, its residents and visitors in a multitude of different ways.”

The TRK is one of several new mobile mapping devices bought by the university through the AHRC CapCo scheme which paves a roadmap towards enhanced national capability for conservation and heritage science, amongst other applications. Further capabilities include a ‘BLK2FLY’ autonomous flying laser scanner and a ‘RTC360’ terrestrial laser scanner. They will use ‘SLAM’ (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, a method used for autonomous vehicles that enables users to build a map and localise vehicles in that map at the same time.

Read More: Laser Scanning Digital City Modelling

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