BMS3D viametris scanning railroad

The presence of weeds and the over-growth of vegetation can be causes of concerns on industrial development sites. Controlling this vegetation can help avoid fire hazards, ensure good visibility, avoid degradation of the infrastructure, and ensure accessibility to important sites, among many other benefits. For illustration purposes, we will discuss the railroads and roads use case scenarios.

An essential part of this process is the identification of areas that require intervention. Traditionally, this is performed by a group of experts that walk along the railroad and visually assess the area to identify the different types of vegetation, identify the areas that require attention, and georeference them for the team that will later go back and control the vegetation. This is a time-consuming process and it requires certain expertise to identify, on the field, which zones meet the criteria for intervention.

Viametris mobile mapping systems are the perfect tool to make this process more efficient by easily capturing 3D data that can be used to automate all these tasks.

Data capture

The process of data capture with a BMS3D is straightforward. The operator simply needs to walk along the railroad carrying the backpack and the system will capture all the information needed to generate a point cloud, GNSS data, and 360 panoramic images. It is simple and productive.

Railroad scanning with BMS3D viametris backpack
Scanning a railroad with the BMS3D

Post-processing and automatic classification

All of the data captured by a BMS3D can be easily post-processed with our proprietary software PPiMMS, allowing the user to obtain a georeferenced point cloud in universal formats (LAS, LAZ, E57, …), a trajectory of the system, and position and orientation of the panoramic images.

Once this data has been produced, it can be fed to a Deep Learning algorithm, such as the one available in the VisionLidar software, to classify the ground, high vegetation, low vegetation, among other classes defined by the user.

Integration with GIS

Integrating this 3D classified point cloud with GIS software can open up a whole new world of possibilities, but not many GIS software solutions can handle point clouds. The advantage of having a classified point cloud is that it can be easily filtered according to the different classes and be used to produce a whole set of georeferenced raster layers corresponding to, for example, the ground, high vegetation, low vegetation, etc. that can be integrated into most GIS software.

Classified raster showing the intersection of vegetation with the railroad
Classified raster showing the intersection of vegetation with the railroad

These raster layers and their sub-products provide essential information for the determination of the areas that need intervention. A ground raster can include elevation, resulting in a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). The DEM can also be used to produce a slope raster, which can be used as a criterion for determining areas of interest. Similarly, the height of each type of vegetation can be calculated, resulting in a Digital Canopy Model. Furthermore, the layers can be intersected to find where vegetation is covering the railroad, or where the vegetation of a certain height is present on a particular slope class.

Tree height model extracted from point cloud
Tree height model extracted from point cloud

With all of the information mentioned above, the operators can now go to the field with a map of the areas that need intervention and use geolocation to go directly to them, making their job more efficient.

In summary

The Viametris 3D scanners can capture accurate high-quality data used to determine a wide variety of attributes of the area (elevation, slopes, vegetation structure, etc.). The process of obtaining these attributes, and using them to determine an action plan for vegetation management, can be done in a few simple steps. In fact, all of the processing steps can be automated to require minimal human intervention, allowing the mission to be more efficiently carried out.

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