The Battle of Mobile Lidar Scanners

The Battle of Mobile Lidar Scanners

When it comes to Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS), there are many tools available on the market. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to utilize some of the latest and greatest MLS technologies at Candrone. MLS solutions offer great flexibility in areas where it can be hard to fly a drone (ie. indoors or through GPS denied environments). In this article, we will be focusing on three MLS systems, all of which have been put through extensive field testing by our team; the BLK2GO from Leica, Hovermap from Emesent, and the C50 Libackpack from Green Valley International. 

All three systems use SLAM technology to build 3D representations of our environment. Still, each system has its own “secret sauce” when it comes to the SLAM matching algorithm’s backend, which is a major differentiating feature between the scanners. After testing each system in various environments (forest, urban, open space, and indoors), we clearly understand each system’s capabilities. 

Leica BLK2GO

The BLK2GO system has a sleek and compact hand-held design that combines two lidar sensors (one with 360-degrees horizontal Field of view (FOV) and a 270-degree vertical FOV). While its intended purpose is geared towards indoor environments (see table 1 for best suited applications), it performs exceptionally well outdoors as well. It isn’t as durable in winter conditions as the other units, but it sure packs together some quality, colorized point-cloud data with a robust SLAM algorithm. Another bonus is the ease of use on this unit. You can grab it and scan your building without your arm cramping from fatigue.  As you can see from our outdoor test, the crisp alignment along the curb and the detail captured in the tree branches is a great testament to the BLK2GO’s strengths.

Emesent Hovermap

The Hovermap comes in on top with its ease of use, durability, and SLAM algorithm, all getting top scores from our tests. In our forested test, we weaved through a dense west coast forest and the Hovermap was able to stitch together a tightly aligned point cloud even across a large scan area. For this reason, the Hovermap is a great tool for applications such as forestry and mining. From extracting DBH and tree height to mapping an underground mine, the Hovermap is only limited by its 30m effective range.

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