Surveying Without the Baggage

How Mobile Mapping was Utilized to Scan an Airport Baggage Handling Facility in Minutes

LIFA Surveyors needed just 10 minutes to scan a large airport baggage handling facility with GeoSLAM’s ZEB-REVO mobile 3D laser scanner as part of a planned upgrade project. The same room, measuring roughly 55,000sqft, would have taken 1-2 weeks with a traditional total station to achieve the same level of detail in the resulting 3D model as the mobile scanner.

Billund Airport (BLL) in central Denmark is the second largest airport in the country, processing over 3 million travelers a year. Quite a few of the arriving tourists heads to the original LEGOLAND and the newly opened LEGO House, which sits next to Lego Headquarters in Billund.

The continued growth of passenger numbers at Billund Airport necessitated a reevaluation of the baggage handling facilities in order to plan for growth. This prompted Anders Nielsen (VP of Project & Development) to contract LIFA Surveyors, a surveying and mapping firm based in Odense, Denmark, to create a 3D model of the existing condition of the baggage handling room.

“They were studying the luggage system to obtain correct as-built material for the required upgrade of the existing room,” said Nikolaj Miller, LIFA Senior Charter Surveyor.

Similar to many airports, conveyor belts in the BLL departure terminal carry luggage down to the central baggage room for automated sorting before being loaded onto trolleys for the final few meters out to the waiting aircraft. With a ceiling nearly five meters high, the baggage room is a three-dimensional maze of ascending and descending conveyor belts, support structures, catwalks, and HVAC piping. A 3D model was needed to help determine if new conveyor belts could be threaded through this maze of existing features.

Early in the project planning stage, BLL wasn’t sure how much detail they would need to proceed with the expansion design. LIFA had worked extensively with the GeoSLAM ZEB-REVO handheld mobile scanner on multiple post-construction quality control jobs. LIFA’s Miller was confident the GeoSLAM device would provide an impressive level of detail in a short amount of time – without disturbing the day-to-day operations of the airport. In fact, it took less than ten minutes.

“We walked 400 feet down one side of the baggage room [holding the ZEB-REVO] and 400 feet back up the other side,” said Miller.

After scanning the space, the collected geospatial data was uploaded to GeoSLAM’s software processing engine (GeoSLAM Hub), in order to generate a 3D point cloud of the entire room. The point cloud was produced in less than ten minutes.

“As long as it takes to capture the scan data, that’s how long the GeoSLAM software takes to process it,” said Miller. “That is what is amazing about this technology.”

To further demonstrate the detail of the data collection, LIFA sent a 300-square-foot sample section of the point cloud to a subcontractor for feature extraction and modeling.

“We had quite an amazing set of data,” said Miller. “The 3D model included floors, walls, ceiling, conveyor belts, beams, cable trays, lights, railings, pipes and structural features.”

BLL officials were also impressed with the level of detail captured by the ZEB-REVO and displayed in the sample model. The geospatial, 3-dimensional information was incorporated into a tender to upgrade and expand the belts and sorting for arriving baggage – ensuring uninterrupted growth for BLL for many years to come.

All images courtesy of LIFA Surveyors

About LIFA

LIFA Surveyors are a nationwide land surveying company, specializing in property measurement and data collection.
Starting out as traditional land Surveyors, the company has expanded and modernized its offering to include advanced 2D and 3D data measurement, CAD and GIS for intelligent collection, storage and manipulation of geospatial data.
LIFA are based in Odense, Denmark. (in Danish)

About GeoSLAM

Headquartered in the UK, GeoSLAM is a global market leader in “go-anywhere” 3D mobile mapping technology. Our unique handheld technology is highly versatile and adaptable to all environments – especially spaces that are indoor, underground or difficult to access, providing accurate 3D mapping without the need for GPS.

Our technology is easy to use and within minutes’ customers can build a highly accurate 3D model of their environment. GeoSLAM was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between CSIRO (Australia’s National Science Agency and the inventors of Wi-Fi) and 3D Laser Mapping. Serving the surveying, engineering, mining, forestry, facilities and asset management sectors, GeoSLAM has an expanding network of over 65 distributors, with a presence in 50 countries across 6 continents.

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